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10 Tips to Improve Church Outreach

10 Tips to Improve Church Outreach
David Bowman

Bi-vocational pastors are the hardest working preachers in the business. They have the unenviable task of working two full-time jobs. Neither job ever stays one. Part-time ministry is part-time in pay only. Time off is a luxury.

I was a bi-vocational pastor for a while and sold insurance alongside two other bi-vocational pastors in an office with twenty agents. The skills needed to sell insurance are similar to those required to lead a church. Insurance agents and pastors both need to know how to win a hearing, ask diagnostic questions, meet needs, and follow through on the services provided.

Selling insurance taught me habits that made me better at outreach.

The company I worked for expected each agent to schedule 15 to 18 appointments each week. These appointments came mostly through cold calls. Agents received lists of people who had requested information about a product or who had reached the magic age to qualify for a Medicare supplement policy. Those who requested information were always easier to talk to than those who had not.

It often took two hundred calls to set 15 appointments or more. About two thirds of those who agreed to an appointment were home when we arrived. Half of those or fewer, actually bought policies. However, those who did buy policies were more likely to buy additional policies in the future and to recommend us to their family members and friends.

The vast majority of churches are declining or are on an uncomfortable plateau. Many pastors in these congregations struggle with outreach and assimilation. They often ask something like, “What do I need to do to get my church to grow?” I ask, “What are you doing that will lead to growth?” The answers are seldom encouraging.

Some churches that have regular outreach meetings spend little time reaching out to people who are not members of the church already. They use outreach time to visit the sick and needy instead. This is valuable ministry, but it is not outreach.

Those who attend our churches as guests are our warm prospects. They are much easier to talk to about our Lord and our churches than strangers on the street. They should receive priority attention.

We’ve all heard, “What gets measured gets done.” How do you measure outreach? Here are some tips for measuring outreach and getting it done.

1. Create a Five-Touch outreach plan.

* Call guests on Sunday afternoon or evening and thank them for worshiping with you that morning. More people are home on Sunday evening than any other day of the week.

* Send a letter from the pastor on Monday thanking them for worshiping with you and provide basic information about the church.

* Call and set an appointment with them at a coffee shop, restaurant, or some other neutral location.

* Deliver a gift to the guest’s home. Gifts like coffee mugs with the church logo get used over and over again.

* Call guests on Saturday and tell them you look forward to seeing them again on Sunday.

2. Make sure every first-time guest experiences the Five-Touch plan.

3. Continue making weekly contact with guests until they join or ask you to stop calling.

4. Record how many guests join each month.

5. Record how many guests do not join each month.

6. Ask those who don’t join what you could do better.

7. Record how many outreach touches it takes to reach each person who joins. One pastor visited a man 17 times before he became a Christian.

8. Ask new members for referrals. Who do they know who needs to know Jesus?  Who do they know who needs a church home? Satisfied customers are the best advertisement.

9. Pay attention to the correlation between new members and weekly contributions. The average Baptist gives about $1,000 per year.

10. Lead new members toward the next level of church membership.

This is not a perfect plan.  It should be refined everywhere it is tried. However, it is a good start toward answering the question, “What do I need to do to get my church to grow?”

This article “10 Tips to Improve Church Outreach” by David Bowman, was excerpted from: www.chuchcentral.com web site. July 2010. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

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