In yesterday’s article 2 Attitudes for Small Church Transformation, Ron Crandall’s study pointed out how evangelistic growth in the small church is rooted in relationships and need strategies to increase the number of first time church visitors.
Larger churches may have lots of programs to help attract them and integrate people quickly. Smaller churches may not have the programmatic resources. Their strength has to be relational.
In turnaround churches,
“new faces and families in church enable members to believe again in a brighter future and invest again in their buildings, their witness, and their efforts to please God.”
15 Efforts to Increase First Time Visitors in the small church
Crandall surveyed pastors on their intentional church growth efforts.
He wanted to learn which efforts seemed fruitful to reach new people and increase the retention of first time church visitors.
- Emphasis on Invite a Friend
- Utilize advertising — phone, letters, ads, signs
- Start new programs
- Welcome visitors better
- Encourage lay visitation
- Follow up with visitors
- Conduct pastoral visitation
- Focus on children’s ministries
- Deliver visitor welcome packets and baked goods
- Offer pastoral care to the community
- Redirect existing programs outward
- Clarify the meaning of being a Christian
- Pray intentionally for unreached people.
- Provide opportunities for new people to serve
- Plan for special evangelistic events.
The key result here is that small churches must do well at making relational contact.
What surprised me is how high advertising ran on this list — which isn’t personal at all.
Download this report to help you improve your welcome ministry as they come.
How new people come to church for the first time
Now Crandall’s original study was done in the late 1990s, when church growth scholarship was really studying the impact of such advertising. From research done some time ago and still in print from Amazon (Source:The Inviting Church, 1987 p. 44), here is what was found:
- 2% by Advertisement
- 6% by the Pastoral Invitation
- 6% by organized evangelism campaign
- 86% by friends or relatives
I don’t know if there has been any new research to show these numbers to have changed or remain the same.
At least the statistics show that for most growth to happen, personal invitation is still the best. I was glad to see that is still #1 on the list.
Invite a friend
There are some formal campaigns that you can create to run “Friendship Sundays” or “Friends and Family day” or something like that. The idea is pick a Sunday and build momentum for invitation, programming and the like. That’s one approach.
A Twitter follower bought a 10 week packaged campaign off the Internet in 2009 and laughed at it’s 1980s content, down to the poster art and the plastic lapel pins. At least the tapes were updated to CDs, though the manual still referred to tapes.
But it doesn’t take a lot of resources to run such a campaign.
Read these 6 steps to host an invite a friend campaign
Successful evangelism in small churches
But Crandall’s research revealed that
Successful results in outreach, evangelism, and church growth in smaller churches depends on
- Having a pastor who leads in evangelism
- Training, planning, and goal setting for growth
- Inviting friends and family to church
- Designing programs to reach new people
- Visiting all prospects
- Enhancing the church’s image through promotion and advertising
- Holding special evangelistic events
- Clarifying the meaning of being Christian
- Praying for God to touch lives
- Using the gifts of the body for the work of the kingdom.
This list highlights for me the role of a pastor in church growth. Yet the challenge that I keep encountering is that many pastors have no formal seminary training (confirmed by Martha Reece’s research and Ron’s Research), nor do many pastors (at least mainline anyway) have a lot of personal experience in personal evangelism.
They may be able to set the goals for growth and hope other people help make it, but pastors need to lead in evangelism.
Pastor John Akinyemi
we have a very small church and we are believing God for an increase
May the Lord open the doors for your church members to invite their friends and share their faith. Keep praying for more workers for the harvest.
Ours is a small Church which needs increase in membership quite urgently. I have learnt one or two things from reading this post. Thanks and God bless you.
Pastor Nyabiya S. Awusy
Thanks Pastors Chris for your write up on 15 strategies to I crease first time visitors I really appreciated your points. The church was scattered by the terrorists (boko haram) Christ will rebuild His Church. Thanks.
Thanks for taking the time to drop by and leave a comment. I can only imagine the challenges of reaching out to people in your region. I do pray that churches in your region will continue to reach out with the Love of Jesus.
Jhanleo H. Vitto
Blessed Day Pastor .im a Student Pastor Studying in All for Christ Theological Seminary Here in Oriental mindoro Phillipines.
Thanks a Lot in These Phases .For Strategies on How Church Encrease ..I will Do This..
Thanks for points raised on this subject. Our church is small and we have employed a good number of the strategies outlined here but still can barely see the result. Could it be that our mode of implementing the the strategies are inadequate?
The ideas here are pretty good. But two more questions come to mind as places to look:
1). What keeps your members from inviting people? If your members are not giving invitations, there may be some avenues to examine. Members are the first filter of who they will invite.
2). Is there ongoing prayer for invited guests? I write a little more about that here: https://www.evangelismcoach.org/2016/invite-your-friends-to-church-10-ways-to-pray-for-those-invitations/
Pastor Meshach Nwazue
Bless you Pastor, Our church is quite small in number and we’re determined to see it grow. Truly, your suggestions are the hidden answers we desperately need to make a difference. Thank you so much.
BSP PAUL K.WAMBUA.
God bls you..
Our Church is small and i have a Vision for a mega Church..
Thanks sir. i am blessed by this post. it will go a long way for me.
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ the son of the Most High God,
I am the leader of evangelism and soul winning of my Church I really need some tips on Effective Soul Winning Thank You and God Bless You.
Effective soul winning starts with prayer. Then watch for the nudge of the Holy Spirit to prompt you for where God the Father is drawing people to Himself. As you step out in obedience to that nudge, watch for evidence of spiritual thirst. Then discern where you are in their story – are you watering a seed, planting a seed, or harvesting a seed. Help them take the next step forward in their journey by suggesting a next step like a bible study, prayer, church invite or more.
Since there are no formulas for soul winning, I can’t give a receipie to follow. But I can share that general process I’ve seen work in my life.
Evangelist Sunday T. Abolainde
thanks for you efforts, as an soul winning evangelist, you have done a good work on details on how to win soul, may God bless you, thanks Eva
Sunday, Thank you for visiting the EvangelismCoach website and encouraging me today!
Thank you for your encourging advice ,i pray that our pastor is open to this new approach some times change is hard, especiallyi convincing others to try ,but wih Christ all things are possible.,please everybody pray for us here at 2nd Baptist