Rethinking our Marketing Plan -- Rev. Julie Long
I recently ran across an article on ethicsdaily.com entitled, “Why Your Church Can Throw Out its Marketing Plan.” The article told of recent survey results from over 300,000 worshippers in 2000 U.S. congregations: “By far, the most often cited reason for a person visiting and staying with a new church is the invitation of a disciple (member) from that church. A person is seven times more likely to visit worship when a lay person invites him or her than when a pastor or staff member does the inviting.”
The author of the article, Mark Tidsworth, put it this way: Before our congregations put energy and resources into “marketing” our church through advertisements, social media, and other forms of getting our name and programs out, we must address a more basic question: “How much do we want others to be a part of this congregation?”
Many of us have been touched deeply by something we’ve experienced at FBCX – powerful and moving worship, deep friendships cultivated in a Sunday School class, a sense of fulfillment from volunteering with a mission project, care and concern in a time of family crisis – the list can go on and on. So how much do we want others to experience something like what we’ve experienced?
Two new servant teams in our church are working hard to help us be creative and intentional about how we welcome those outside of our church. Our Publicity Team is developing strategic ways to help us promote the good things that we do within our church membership and our community. Their goal is to help us get people in the door so that they can see for themselves what goes on here. The Hospitality Team is getting organized about what to do with them when they get here. How can we make a good first impression? How can we connect with people in a way that makes them feel as if they could belong here.
This Sunday after worship, we will hold a Hospitality Training Session in the Fellowship Hall. This 30-minute session will outline our plan for intentionally greeting each guest who enters our doors and will offer tips for extending a welcoming presence. All are welcome to stay for the conversation about how we might encourage a culture of hospitality in our church.
We belong to a congregation that is wonderful in so many ways, and our best marketing plan is our membership. How much do we want others to be a part of this congregation? The responsibility falls to every one of us to share our stories of why we are here and why others should be, too. So beginning this Sunday, be intentional about doing your part:
Tell your story of our church. Invite a friend to come.
As you enter the sanctuary, pick up a “welcome packet”, a white envelope with the FBCX logo, from the front pew, narthex, or elevator entrance to give to a guest.
Look for someone you don’t know in the pews around you. Introduce yourself and get to know them.
Let the staff know who you’ve met so that we can follow up.
And give thanks to God that perhaps someone has experienced the love and hospitality of Christ through you.