I find myself in an interesting place. I’m a new pastor – the last time that happened was 23 years ago. Two observations from these few months:
A lot has changed . . .
Not much has changed . . .
People are the same, but the world is different. People’s commitment to church attendance is not as it was – but I plan to experiment with marketing Sunday evening and midweek just as aggressively as Sunday morning. I’ll keep you posted on how it works.
I’m not comfortable with less church – not if one is going to grow people and the church. The schedule of teaching/preaching 3-4 times every Sunday is more wearying than I remember. My own approach Sunday morning we do education and evangelism, Sunday afternoon is a disciple-making class; Sunday evening is for edification of the saints and mid-week is to equip saints to be effective.
It does seem Jesus has blessed me with some neat ideas that are actually working to take advantage of the changes that have happened.
Updated Guest Cards
As I developed Calvary’s guest cards (http://SpringfieldCalvary.church) it occurred to experiment with how open guests would be to receiving a “text message from the pastor.” Alongside the line for the guest’s phone number, the question is asked, “Can Calvary’s pastor contact you via text message? Y N” The response has been amazing. Of the guest cards returned well over 1/2 of them are open to communication via text message.
Text messaging is quick and effective. This past Sunday a family of three were back at Calvary for a second visit. They had received a text message and hand-written card during the prior week. Sunday afternoon I sent a text to a fellow who had visited Sunday morning with his two kids. He responded to my text – requesting a Bible Study and volunteering to do any electrical and plumbing work around the church. Maybe I’m on to something?
Facebook Marketing is Cheap and Works
Quite often Calvary does a two day “boosted” ad on Facebook. The most we spend is $10 per day, usually only $5. The ad is focused on my Sunday evangelistic message. (Side-note: The most vital church growth concept is to preach to sinners every single week – whether there is one sinner in attendance or a dozen.) My marketing target is not church attendees (though some do get gathered into the mix), but non church members. In targeting my ads about the “Blessing and Benefit of the Holy Ghost” I targeted words and phrases like: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, depression, loneliness, etc.
When a user of Facebook responds with a “Like” we then try to transition that to a like of Calvary’s FB page. It does not always work, but quite often it does. This expands the part of the community who are connected with Calvary.
I also ask our church members to “share” the Facebook ads we post. The shares end up on that person’s Facebook page and reaches people the ad would not otherwise get too.
Preaching to Those I Have Not Yet Seen
The ability to post Calvary’s preaching/teaching on the church website using Soundcloud is an easy win. I’m grateful for Ashley Townsend, one of Calvary’s teens who volunteers to clean up the sound, post the audio to Soundcloud and make the appropriate link on the website. One of the most important concepts of any pastorate is involving people in meaningful ministry. What Ashley does means a lot to her and perhaps more to me. She accomplishes things I simply could not accomplish.
I’m convinced that the gospel works; that doctrinal teaching/preaching works – if we can only gain a hearing. Posting online allows people to hear me without having to risk walking in the doors of the church. It is amazing the number of listens one gets. Eventually, Calvary may use video and even be live with the preaching/teaching; for this moment and our current setting this works and it works inexpensively.
I’m enjoying the journey! Oh, I have a new book out just now: Healthy Church – Start Here! addresses the 18 reasons churches are not healthy and do not grow. Common sense and proven solutions to get the church on-track and growing. Take a look at Healthy Church – Start Here! The book can also be purchased at Amazon or for your Kindle.