Outreach Church Communications and Marketing

9 Things To Do Now To See More People this Fall

Summer may be just getting started and your church attendance may be lower than normal, but now is the perfect time to be planning for your fall ministry launch and how you will reach unchurched families in your community. Here are 9 things to do now that will pave the way for increased attendance in the fall.


Summer is just getting started and yes, everyone’s still slathering on the sunscreen, eating ice cream and enjoying long summer nights, but fall will be here before you know it. And with it will come an opportunity to reach out to your unchurch neighbors.  How can your church reach out, grab attention and get on their calendars?

It’s all about planning now! Set some time aside to ask a few important questions and then be intentional about completing your fall strategy plan and you will likely increase interest in your church—if not the number of people you see on Sunday! Here are 9 things to do now to pave the way for increased attendance this fall.

1. Check your community’s calendars.

When do schools start and have fall break? Which weekend is Homecoming? Is there a town pumpkin/harvest event? If so, when? These types of events should be on your church’s calendars for a couple reasons. First, you can be at them, meeting and connecting with people, perhaps even volunteering at them. Second, your church’s events should complement these not overlap with them. For example, don’t host a parenting seminar on the same Friday night as a big high school football game. You’ll lose parents, and you won’t find any youth volunteers willing to provide childcare! Why not get a team of volunteers to pass out water bottles at the game instead (with school permission, of course)? Or host a tailgating party in your parking lot?

2. Plan and promote your fall events now.

Back to School party? Harvest Fest? Trunk or Treat? Start advertising internally and externally. Get these events on your website and Facebook pages today. Throw a few pics from last year’s events on  Instagram. And set up an Event on Facebook. Yes, time and space are limited in your bulletins and announcements, but make this event a priority if you want it to be priority in people’s schedules. Give  people time to find out about the event details and then invite their friends and family. In the weeks leading up to the event, provide invitations to adults and kids. 

3. Enlist, train and excite your volunteers.

Are your volunteer teams filled for the fall? Small group leaders confirmed? If not, now is the time to fill the holes instead of asking for more involvement at the last minute. Pick a Sunday and talk about the need and the importance of serving from the pulpit. Perhaps share a short video about the power of volunteering during church. Then make signing up easy and quick in one spot after services or online. Be sure to thank people for their commitment!

Once they’ve signed on, you don’t want to take up too much of your volunteers’ time with training, but the very act of hosting a training session sends the message to people that this is important! Have many, if not all, church leaders present, adding legitimacy. For sure provide the logistics on volunteering, where to go, what to do, what to say, etc., but perhaps more importantly, share the life-changing power of volunteering for the volunteer and those being served. It’s God at work! It’s fulfilling the mission of your church and the Church! Volunteers should be equipped and excited. Consider having someone share a story of how serving or being served through your church has changed a life.

4. Hand out something cold.

Capitalize on the remaining warm temps and give away something refreshing and cold…just because. Wear T-shirts and/or name tags letting people know who you are and what church you come from. Hit a popular park and give away bottled water. Pass out popsicles at a playground or ball field, a well-traveled bike trail, picnic area or beach. Visit your local fire department with all the fixings for ice cream sundaes. This doesn’t require a lot of planning, time or money. But it does get your visibility in the neighborhood which may help your attendance come September. 

5. Build hype for Back to Church Sunday.

Thousands of churches plan to participate in National Back to Church Sunday on September 17, encouraging their people to invite friends and family back to church. You can, too! On average, churches—even smaller ones—see a 25% increase in attendance on Back to Church Sunday. There is still time to engage your congregation and make a plan to get your unchurched neighbors to visit. For ideas, resources, testimonials, invites, banners and more on equipping your congregation, check out:


6. Spread your sermon.

Commit to sharing your sermons (or part of them) in one new way. For some, this may be posting online in blog form. For others, perhaps it’s streaming live or using them as a podcast. Once you’ve decided how to share your sermons differently, learn the ins and outs of doing it that way. Practice. Find out what works best. Iron out all the kinks so that by the time your fall sermon series kicks off, you’re ready to go.

7. Refresh your kids min rooms.

You have a few weeks before your halls will likely hear the pitter patter of more little ones. How can you make your rooms really sparkle, and subsequently, impress parents who will be dropping their kids off? Do you need fresh coats of colorful paint? New rugs? New signage? Take inventory of your supplies. Get rid of broken crayons, dry markers, and hard playdoh. Purchase new materials. Do a deep clean. Then post pictures of the fun updates on your Facebook page or Instagram to garner excitement.

8. Increase SEO.

Maybe you already have someone who’s ahead of the ballgame on updating your website and search engine optimization. Awesome. But you might also be thinking, search engine what? If so, now’s the time to take a quick look at how Google ranks your church and then make a few tweaks to your website in efforts of boosting traffic this fall. Start with some general reconnaissance. If someone Googled “small church near me,” where does your church fall in the results? What about “contemporary church in Smallville?” Or “kid-friendly church in Smallville?” What words or phrases are people typing into Google when searching for a church like yours? It’s those words and phrases you want to take back to your website and use everywhere you can—without sounding weird. Use it as a header. Include in copy in the “About Us” section. Include in your web page title tags (ex: Contemporary Church in Smallville—Home; Contemporary Church in Smallville—About Us). These changes can be done by those less than tech-savvy, and they can only increase your Google ranking! (Need a new website – check out Outreach sites)

9. Pray.

Individually, as a staff, corporately as a church—pray! For courage to invite people on Back to Church Sunday. For your volunteers and the people they will serve this fall. For the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of your neighbors and the streets of your city. For wisdom on how to reach more people. For the children who will enter your hallways for the first time—that they will feel God’s love for them. For your church to fulfill its mission!




With a mission to share God’s love and empower the Church to share the message of Jesus Christ, Outreach has quickly grown to become the largest provider of church outreach products and services in the world. Join the Outreach Weekly for the latest tips, tools, ideas, and deals to help you reach your community for Christ.

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