When was the last time you read a review before you made a purchase? Nobody buys much of anything these days without listening to someone’s opinion. Church has always been like that. Most people try church because someone recommended it or they were invited by a friend.
An effective outreach strategy always includes your plan for equipping your church members to be recommenders and inviters. Here are nine steps you can take to proliferate grass roots invitations to your church.
- Value lost people.The key to being an inviting church is to be a church that values lost people. At least every other year do a sermon series that reminds your church that you are a Great Commission church. Good times for this series are just before the inviting opportunity: leading up to Easter, August and early January.
- Offer an elevated excuse to invite.Hold an attractional sermon series two to four times a year. At least twice a year, look for a big name or other big draw to kick off the series. This is a limited-time motivator for your congregation to invite others.
- Help everyone to know what to say.In the weeks leading up to the attractional series, give or rehearse a script with people. Give them a simple verbal example about how to invite a friend and how to invite a new acquaintance.
- The right card for the right occasion.Each attractional series should have its own invitation card. Put two in each weekend program for two weeks, skip a week, and then two more in each program on the third weekend; and put them in cardholders in the lobby and around the building.
- Provide a social media invite opportunity.Post invitations on Facebook and Twitter and ask your congregation to share them. It’s an easy way for them to be inviters and recommenders and to spread the word to a lot of relevant people.
- Make it a sermon application.Whenever possible, one of the sermon’s applications should be “take your connection card and write the names of friends you want to invite to join us next weekend. We will pray with you that they will come to church.”
- Everything starts with small groups.Task your small group director to include an encouragement/reminder/example of how to invite friends in their weekly communique to small group leaders. Then, the small group leaders, in turn, should equip their group members to invite unchurched friends to church.