Be sure to plan for the increased number of visitors: extra hostesses, extra chairs, ushers, etc. Important – each first time visitor should receive an at-home visit that week. Recruit extra help! Be sure to pray! Ask people to spend extra time in prayer and fasting for the upcoming event.
By Tim Massengale
The key to making a service ‘special’ is to get your saints excited and interested in the upcoming event. Since paid advertising (newspapers, billboards, radio, mass mail-outs, etc.) has proven to not be a cost effective way to increase first-time visitors, then we must focus on word-of-mouth. This means generating a ‘buzz’ among your people. Here are a few suggestions:
- Plan the event well with your leaders. Consider appointing a planning committee to carry out plans for promoting and publicizing key events. Discuss the event at length at your monthly planning council. Get your leaders fully on board before you bring it to the church.
- PR the event during key church services. Consider what you can do other than just ‘talking’ about it. Skits, interview a fictional character that is dressed in costume, pre-planned testimonies, etc.
- Continue to PR the event by bulletin inserts, Power-Point slides, banners, posters, flyers handed out to all members. Work hard to get that ‘buzz’ going.
- Send a nice flyer and letter to all on your mailing list (all past visitors and contacts).
- Design a nice color flyer. 8 ½” x 11” is best. But if you need to save costs, you can put two flyers on a page and cut it in half. Each flyer is then 5 ½ x 8 ½ . Color photocopying expense can be greatly reduced by using one of the color copying services on the internet. Email them your flyer as a high-res .JPG or Photoshop file and they will send you back your requested quantities, usually within 5-7 days.
- Use these flyers for all church members (give each member 3-5 or more to invite their friends). Hand them out to all bus parents, visitor follow-up visits, door knocking, street evangelism, rest homes (give one to each resident in the rest home and suggest that they ask their son or daughter to bring them), etc.
- Put the flyer up at key locations (store windows and business bulletin boards – you should develop a ‘route’ of stores and businesses that allow this to be done and use the same person to run this route every time you have a flyer designed.)
- Banners are VERY effective in creating a ‘buzz.’ But they can be expensive. Best prices often come from the internet. Select a size, email your artwork and they send you back your banner. One banner can be used both inside and outside. Hang outside except during church services. Bring it inside each service and hang above your platform. This is money well spent and can be used several years in a row.
- Some of your best excitement can be generated with ‘challenges.’ Quickly divide the church into two teams. You take one, let your assistant take the other. Goal is to bring the most visitors. Losing team captain will kiss a pig, eat their tie (suggestion – wear an edible tie that morning), wear your suit backwards, pie in face – be creative! This will work 3-4 times a year. Caution not to over use it.
- If you divide the church into teams, plan several ‘team meetings’ after a Bible study night service. Dismiss the church to meet in two locations. Brainstorm ideas with your team on how to win. When your team contributes to the plan, they ‘buy into it’ and become committed to its success.
- Personal challenges also work well. Ask 5-6 people to participate before hand. Then at the prompt (Who’s going to help me by bringing a visitor?), a person stands up and challenges a friend, “Bro. Ron, if you bring more visitors than me, I will barbeque you a 16 oz. steak with all the trimmings!” Hopefully after 5-6 of your pre-arranged challenges, others will join in on their own.