Ultimately, the work of evangelism can’t be accomplished wholly through the tools of marketing. We can’t expect to run ads on the sides of buses offering “half off salvation – this week only” and expect throngs of people to show up. I often hear people say, when speaking of people we wish were in our church; “well, they know where we are if they want to come.”
If you believe that’s true I invite you to go to the gas station or hotel nearest to your church and ask the front-line staff person where your church is. That attitude is unsatisfactory. It isn’t enough anymore (if it ever was) to be merely welcoming – we need to be inviting if we expect our congregations to thrive. Look back at that story from John’s Gospel. Andrew goes and invites his brother Simon (Peter) and Philip invites Nathanael. We need to actively lead people to Christ and our congregations.
Marketing tools let people know we exist and hopefully offers some insight into who we are. That knowledge forms the foundation on which you and other church members can go out and invite people.
But everyone likes company when tackling challenges, so I recommend that every congregation have an annual Evangelism campaign just like every congregation should have an annual stewardship (fundraising) campaign.
Here are some advantages of doing an Evangelism campaign
- You can tie your marketing efforts to your evangelism campaign
- Members commit to asking specific people (plus it gets people talking about the church with friends and neighbors)
- Takes advantage of specific annual events when people might be more likely to consider going to church
- Fall (kids going back to school, people settling in new neighborhoods, kids returning to college)
- New Year (resolutions time, often a time of reassessment)
- Easter or Christmas
- You can plan, on a congregational level, to assimilate newcomers into your community
You can find resources for Evangelism Campaigns here