Practical Ways to Reach the Unchurched
82% of the unchurched are somewhat likely to attend church if invited. Those are pretty great odds don’t you think? Unfortunately, only 2% of church going people ever invite someone to church in a given year. To make matters worse, 70% of unchurched people have never been invited to church in their whole lives. (Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door)
I think we’ve grown numb to these findings. Even worse, I’m afraid we’ve grown apathetic to these statistics or we would certainly do something about it. Wouldn’t we?
Consider this. If your church has 100 smiling faces on Sunday morning only two of them ever invite someone to check out your church. I don’t want to oversimplify things here but maybe that’s why your church isn’t growing. At the least, it’s one reason why your church isn’t growing.
Now consider this. If each of those 100 smiling faces you see on Sunday invited one person to visit church with them, you would see about 80 new smiling faces in your church. And if that isn’t motivation for encouraging your church membership to get excited about the gospel and your church, you can always use the guilt card.
Guilt card. Seven out of 10 people that don’t attend church on Sunday have never been invited to church. NEVER. If you can’t use this number for a good old fashioned fire and brim stone sermon then you’re way past your prime.
Here are some very practical and tactical things you can do about these stats today:
1. Read Thom Rainer’s book, The Unchurched Next Door, for a complete understanding of the stats
- Make your church membership aware of these findings. Most of them would be shocked to know that if they invite people, they will come.
2. Empower and encourage your membership to invite friends to church
Have a respectable Church Website that your membership feels good telling their friends to check out. You don’t have to spend a fortune. Just have something nice and respectable. Everyone’s first visit to your church is to your Web site. Make sure it’s a quality experience. (Be sure there is a page specifically for visitors.)
3. Make your Sunday experience as visitor friendly as possible.
Pastor Matt Keller, calls it the “parking lot to parking lot” mentality. You want people to feel like they are going to experience something incredible the second they pull into your church parking lot. And when they are pulling out of the parking lot, they’re excited about returning next week.
- Do you have signage in your parking lot welcoming people?
- Do you have parking attendants and greeters welcoming people?
- Are all the doors manned by greeters?
- Does each Sunday School have a designated group of people to greet and make visitors feel welcome?
4. Follow up.
Be sure and call (if they leave a number), hand-write (if they leave an address), or e-mail (if that’s all they left) a thank you for attending the church. This is something you should not delegate – if the visitor gets a call from the pastor that’s a pretty big deal. You need to do it. While you’re at it, call the church member that invited them to attend and thank them for reaching out.
I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have time for this.” You’re right, you don’t. But you’re going to have to make time. If you don’t make time, then let’s make a deal. You can never complain about your church not growing, your membership not being excited, and people not coming to faith in your community.
This is easy AND you can do it. It takes time but it isn’t rocket science.
I love the Church. As the CEO of d2design, I work to equip the church on mission through innovative communication and church marketing strategies. I have spent over a decade working with pastors and church leadership, helping them discover the most effective ways to connect with their communities.