Increasing attendance is a constant challenge for every church no matter its size, denomination or location. Statistics show that over the last decade, the share of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month have dropped by 7 percentage points.
There are changes underway within the American religious landscape. Based on a Pew Institute study published in October of 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christian-that’s down approximately 12% over the past decade. However, those who describe their religious identity as agnostic or nondenominational (known as “nones”) have grown by 5% and crosses multiple demographic groups: white people, black people and Hispanics; men and women; in all regions of the country; and among college graduates and those with lower levels of educational attainment. Religious “nones” are growing faster among Democrats than Republicans, though their ranks are swelling in both partisan coalitions. And although the religiously unaffiliated are on the rise among younger people and most groups of older adults, their growth is most pronounced among young adults.
So what does all of that mean? It means that there is a plethora of people searching for a religious home, which means you have a large pool of people who have the potential to become new church members.
One of the most effective ways to attract new faces into your church is to have them brought by someone they know. A friend, neighbor, or co-worker can provide a level of comfort and help to ease the sense of isolation that often comes when entering an unfamiliar space for the first time. Not only should you regularly encourage your members to bring new faces who could benefit from your ministry, but you should also make it easy for them to do so. A great way of accomplishing this is by combining your Easter Service with a Friends and Family Day.
It provides a unique opportunity for you to showcase your ministry to potential new members. Many people who aren’t sure if joining a church is right for them will feel at-ease knowing they are not the only unchurched people there.
In the weeks leading up to it, build momentum for the service and event. Encourage your community to reach out to the people they know. Equip them with invitation cards and flyers so that they have physical materials to share with others. Create a Facebook Event for both the Easter service and for the Friends and Family Day after. Ask your congregation to share it within their social media communities.
Purchase a saturation mailing list of residences surrounding your church and mail invitations to your neighbors including your existing parishioners. Use the day to encourage these people to come back the following week. You might consider beginning a sermon series that day so that people know what to expect the following week.
Be sure and collect a means to contact the newcomers via email or a physical address. In the days that follow your Friends and Family Day, reach out to the individuals who came and show them that they are important to you by sending a hand written thank you note or a personal email. They’ll soon see how they can fit into your community.
Though getting people in the door is important, having a passionate and engaged church body is essential to the vitality and growth of any church. Challenge your community to get involved in the issues that are most meaningful to them. Passionate people want their work to be successful, so they’re likely to invite others to join them and see the fruits of their labor. This is an excellent tactic for organic growth.
We hope this information is helpful to you when planning your upcoming Easter marketing strategy and as always, we are here to help in any way we can.