With new and interactive methods of communication, it has become easier to increase church attendance in the community. Society works on the basis of expansion and similarly, a church needs to expand its number of attendees as well. Technology has created more options for church outreach ideas that can help individuals easily market their church and religious institutions. These include mass text messaging, email marketing,
Mass Text Messaging
Text messaging is one of the cheapest methods to reach a large audience in a small amount of time. Bulk messaging or mass text messaging has gained popularity amongst businesses as one of the most effective marketing methods in the market. Text messages cannot only be personalized but can also make a follower feel special while giving them constant reminders. Text messaging has become the main form of communication for societies, as it is easy to use and gain people’s attention. According to research, 98% of the text messages sent are opened and read within 3 minutes of being sent to the recipient. Hence, making mass text messaging an easier and direct method of communication between the church and its members.
SMS marketing for churches has replaced the old methods of advertising in newspapers and distributing newsletters to people to attend church. Not only does it help gain followers without having to put in a lot of effort, but it also allows the church to maintain contact with old followers and keep them updated about church activities. Sending out short text messages to followers about church events reminds the members to attend such events. A community church can send out mass text messages to the members to attend a charity event being held at the church. These short reminders about the charity event alert the members and help increase the attendance for the event.
Apart from church events, the church can also send text messages to members to remind them of their social obligations towards others around them. This enhances social engagement in the community and builds a bond between the members. A church can send out mass text messages to members to volunteer for a group activity regarding educating children about the religion. Creating groups and promoting voluntary work in the society promotes social growth and brings the church members close to each other. The church relies on social engagement and support from the community hence, such a method is exactly what is needed to promote the church.
In cases of emergency
Mass text messaging proves to be the best for church outreach in cases of emergencies and natural disasters. Since a church is considered a safe haven for a community, people can gather there together to morally support each other while remaining safe in the church’s boundaries. If there is a prediction of a hurricane in a society, the church can send a mass text to everyone around it to gather in the church and come up with ideas to keep both the society and themselves safe. Moreover, such an act shows the protection of the church towards the people of the community and increases followers as well.
Increase member retention
Once a church gains a member, it is important for the church staff and other volunteers to make them feel welcome as a part of the church. This can be done by following one of the church outreach ideas by sending out text messages to these new members about upcoming sermons and their benefits to the community. Each time new members join the church, a follow-up text can be sent to them asking them about their experience at the church. Such actions make these new members feel welcome to the church and appreciate the effort the staff and volunteers make to keep them happy. Members remain happy with follow up messages and tend to return to the church.
How to send mass text messages to church members?
While the idea of sending mass text messages sounds easy, the process is quite simple as well. All that is required by the church staff and administration is to sign up with an SMS provider which can also be done online. Once the church signs up and has an account with the provider, it can post the contact list of all its members and also that of potential members in the community. After creating a contact list, the only thing left to do is write a text message and send it to all the contacts. This method is cost effective and also allows the church to remain in contact with both church members and non-members. The non-members can be given an incentive to join the church by emailing them sign up forms through other platforms.
Email is one of the other church outreach ideas which keeps the members connected with the administration and staff. Like mass text messaging, Email marketing is also easy and convenient to use for the church. Rater then sending members direct mail and distributing newsletters to people, it is better to drop in Emails to old and potential members regarding the church activities and sermons. Such announcements keep the members updated and inform potential members about the work done by the church. Emails can be controlled and sent personally to a few members of the church who wishes to do so. Rather than emailing the entire list, the church staff can shortlist a few members to send an important Email to. A community church can write personalized emails to a few members of the church to invite them to a small sermon regarding community ethics. Moreover, an Email can be customized for each member addressing them by their name so they are aware that the church respects and cares about their members.
To increase the number of church members, it is necessary to attract the attention of people in the community. The church can send Emails to people in its surroundings and invite them to Saturday sermons and gatherings to help the community grow. A church can send an Email to people in its community regarding the importance of social engagements and how the church works towards improving social skills and commitments in people.
Social Media Marketing
Digital marketing plays an important role in church outreach these days. Just like email marketing and mass text messaging, social media is one of the interactive church outreach ideas that help the members grow. Social media is a platform that is accessible to almost everyone and initiates direct communication between the church and the members. Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a great beginning to set up a church page on social media.
Facebook is the first platform that a church should target. Creating a public Facebook page of the church is necessary which provides people with important information regarding the church address, services and timings. Once the page is set up, the church should post regularly on the page updating people and asking them to share it amongst their individual networks. Attractive posts such as vibrant pictures and inspiring short videos are the way to increase followers and members of the church. A church can post a short video about its members and how they help the community grow.
Word by mouth
One of the most important techniques used by a church to expand itself is through word by mouth. This means that members talk to others and invite them to become new members of the church. For this, the church should enhance its services towards the community and show people the benefits of being regular members of the church. Communication skills are most important in this arena where the church staff needs to be active towards working for public benefits and helping the members. A church can enlist a few people to hold a church gathering and give a sermon or lecture about the importance of a church in a community and the benefits that come with being a member of it.
The church works for the wellbeing of the community and helps spread the Gospel through its networking. Digital platforms and text messaging are a revolutionized method to get the message of the church across people and the community. Rather than sticking to old methods churches should opt for newer church outreach ideas which can expand its work and increase its members for the growth of a society. The best method of church outreach is text messaging since it is cost effective and reaches members without the need of any internet. Mass text messaging sends the message to a large audience without going through the hassles of shortlisting recipients. Moreover, if required, text messages can also be personalized and sent to only a few numbers of people by the church staff. Time has evolved the method of church outreach and it is important that churches now use digital platforms to communicate with their members and community.