By Dr. Hal Seed
Would you like to have more newcomers to your church each weekend?
As you develop your outreach strategy, consider including a plan for equipping your church members to be recommenders and inviters.
Here are nine steps you can take to widen your church’s front door:
1. Value lost people.
The key to being an inviting church is to be a church that values lost people.
At least every other year do a sermon series that reminds your church that you are a Great Commission church. Good times for this series are just before the inviting opportunity: leading up to Easter, August, and early January.
2. Offer an elevated excuse to invite.
Two to four times a year hold an attractional sermon series. At least twice a year, look for a big name or other big draw to kick off the series. This is a limited-time motivator for your congregation to invite others.
In addition to the influx of people that the attractional event will bring, over time your congregation will absorb the culture value that your church cares about attracting people who don’t come to church yet.
3. Help everyone know what to say.
In the weeks leading up to the attractional series, give or rehearse a script with people. We give them a simple verbal example about how to invite a friend, and how to invite a new acquaintance. Develop a short, simple script and encourage people to practice and memorize it.
4. The right card for the right occasion.
Each attractional series should have it’s own invitation card. Put two in each weekend program for two weeks, skip a week, and then two more in each program on the third weekend; and put them in card holders in the lobby and around the building. When we’re not in an attractional series, these card holders have a generic invitation card in them.
5. Provide a social media invite opportunity.
Post invitations on Facebook and Twitter and ask your congregation to share them. It’s an easy way for them to be inviters and recommenders and to spread the word to a lot of relevant people.
6. Make it a sermon application.
Whenever possible, one of the sermon’s applications should be “take your connection card and write the names of friends you want to invite to join us next weekend. We will pray with you that they will come to church.”
7. Close with a reminder.
Our closing script includes, “Wasn’t it a great morning? Who are you going to invite to experience this with us next weekend?”
8. Everything starts with small groups.
Task your small group director to include an encouragement/reminder/example of how to invite friends in their weekly communique to small group leaders. Then, the small group leaders, in turn, should equip their group members to invite unchurched friends to church.
9. All inviters are not created equal.
Some people are good at inviting and some people are great at it. Develop a list of your church’s best inviters and empower them to work their spiritual giftedness and their networks to be great at inviting people to church.
You can widen your front door with a congregation of recommenders and inviters.
If you want your church to be effective at outreach, strategize your attractional series or events, your marketing plan, and how you will equip your people to be inviters.
Hal Seed is the founding and Lead Pastor of New Song Community Church in Oceanside, CA. He mentors pastors who want to lead healthy, growing churches with resources at www.pastormentor.com.