How can your church introduce more people to the Gospel and bring more people to find Jesus Christ as their savior? Encouraging members to invite others on a consistent basis and building a strong invite culture.
Churches that have a strong invite culture encourage members to reach out to their communities, so when they encounter someone at the grocery store, at the gym, or at your kids’ school, they feel comfortable inviting them to be a part of their church.
Here are a few ways your church can build a strong invite culture!
Make physical and digital invites easy for members to access.
Make it easy. Have materials ready for members to hand to people they see in the community. Whether it’s a physical post card, forwarding an email, or sample social media posts, make sure they are equipped with easy ways to invite those around them.
As leaders, show you are inviting others on a consistent basis.
We’ve heard of pastoral leadership frequenting a certain restaurant in order to get to know the wait staff, the manager, and the folks behind the scenes specifically to build a relationship and invite them to church. This kind of commitment takes time. Also, what about getting to know the hair stylists at the local Great Clips? Everybody needs a haircut.
Make this the culture of leadership, and actively look for ways to invite your community to church. And let your church members know about it so they can and will be encouraged to do the same. They can pray for your efforts and praise God when they see the fruits.
Share easy examples of how your members can invite others. (Family members, neighbors, co-workers, friends, people at the gym.)
Have you ever been in the grocery store shopping and hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit? He says, “Maybe that person needs Christ. Invite them to church.” Chances are those whispers are no accident. But how do you open up a random conversation with a stranger?
Maybe you’re at a neighborhood cookout, and you hear the whisper. How do you make a relaxed environment work in your favor to invite someone to church or to share your faith?
The Great Commission tells us that it is our duty as followers to share our faith, but it doesn’t come natural to some folks, and they need guidance. Teach members how to invite others. Encourage role-playing in small groups, and give them scripts to follow in case nerves creep in.
If a script feels cold or uncomfortable, give members a guide like this one by Life On Mission, and let them fill in the meat of the conversation, working in parts of their unique story and what they love about the church.
Host “invite drives” around big events and message series.
A message series on inviting others to church may give members the drive and encouragement to invite non-believers. Consider a series on neighboring, using the good Samaritan story as a cornerstone to the series.
Give members an actionable step at the end of every message. The first week, it could be to simply introduce yourself to your neighbor. Maybe the next action step is to do something nice for your neighbor. You get the idea … ultimately, the goal is to build a relationship with those around us, and invite them to church. Whether it’s their physical neighbor or the guy in the cubicle next to them, build confidence in your members so they can share Jesus.
Set times to go out in the community and split up into groups of people to hang door hangers.
We love this one, especially if you can get people who LIVE in the neighborhood to hang them in those neighborhoods. Hopefully neighbors will see a familiar face walking the neighborhood (in a custom church shirt?) and it won’t feel spammy. The goal here is to NOT interrupt someone’s day.
What goes on the door hanger is just as important. Consider the audience. If it’s a neighborhood full of young families, consider promoting the kids ministry or mentoring program on your door hanger. If it is a neighborhood that is an aging audience, consider promoting programs and ministries that speak to their season of life.
Tip: Coffee shops within churches are getting more and more popular. Consider putting a tear away section on the door hanger good for a free coffee at your church coffee shop. 1. It might just be the nudge someone needs, and 2. You’ll be able to track the success of your campaign.
Share stories when visitors are invited to a church, are saved and have positive outcomes on themselves and others.
Share stories of success! Whether through videos clips on Sunday morning, on social media, or through your church blog, be sure to share the unique stories of the community joining your church and making the decision to follow Christ. We all want to be a part of a winning team (through Jesus, we have won already), and showing the success will fire up members to keep it going.
Break down as many barriers as you can for visitors to walk in your door.
The parking is terrible … I can’t go in shorts … I can’t make it to church at that time … church people are unfriendly. These are just a few reasons that visitors will not go to your church. We encourage you to break down these barriers if you want to see your numbers grow.
Some solutions could be to have special parking for visitors, or a special parking lot if you are part of a large church. Feature members of all walks of life dressed up and dressed casually on social media channels. Consider adding a unique service time on Saturday evening to give another option.
Follow up with visitors after they visit for the first time.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning because it is SO important. All of the previous efforts listed will be wasted if you don’t have a system for following up with new visitors. Whether it is a pastor or volunteer, make sure that every visitor is connected with their “next step.” Maybe it’s getting connected with a small group, being baptized, or marriage counseling. You have no idea why they stepped through your doors until you ask.
If your church genuinely and authentically reaches out to new visitors to in order to feed their souls, they will come back … and they will tell their friends.
When you encounter a hurting soul, sometimes it’s unclear what to do. One way to impact them is to invite them to church. We’ve always been amazed at how one sermon can speak deeply to a crowd of people in all stages of life. Maybe because people are really the same, no matter the age or life circumstance … or maybe it’s whisper of the the Holy Spirit that is prompting change within hearts. Definitely the Holy Spirit.
We encourage you to build a strong invite culture in your church to bring people to the house of God and give the Spirit a chance to change their heart.
Have questions or just want to have a conversation about anything in the article? Get in touch with us for a free 20-minute consultation.