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Newsletter December 2023

The Best News Ever

Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations, Passion for PlantingAmidst all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, are you finding time to reflect on how mind-boggling the Christmas story really is? The marvelous reality of the incarnation wasn’t lost on the shepherds who first learned about it from an army of angels. This was the greatest news these humble sheep herders had ever heard. It was almost too good to be true, so they hurried off to Bethlehem to see if it was really true. After seeing Jesus for themselves, they began to spread the word about the Messiah’s birth (Lk. 2:17).

Isn’t sharing it something the first thing we want to do when we experience something out of this world? We can’t keep it to ourselves. We are compelled to tell others about it, whether it’s an amazing restaurant, movie or book.

Your church has the exact same good news to share with the world around it. Part of your role as a church leader is to inspire and equip those under your care to spread this amazing news like the angels did for the shepherds. How are you doing with this?

One way you can share this good news, and train others to do so as well, is through the Three Circles Conversation. It’s one way to share the gospel with people that’s simple and reproducible. Check it out if you’re not familiar with it.

Most people living in the United States have heard the Christmas story, even if only from Linus explaining to Charlie Brown and company the Christmas story from Luke 2:8-20. What they haven’t necssarily experienced is the Christmas story in everyday life. They haven’t experienced it within the context of a church community full of people whose lives have been transformed by the gospel. What they need is to see it, to feel it, personally, like the shepherds did.

You can help people experience the good news of Jesus tangibly by inviting people into your church community where they will rub shoulders with everyday, ordinary people whose lives have forever been changed by Jesus.

That’s why we’ve filled this newsletter with resources to help your church spread the good news of Jesus and invite more people into your church family. There are many in your community today that need this invitation. Will your church be available to offer it to them? Keep reading to discover helpful ideas and tools to equip your church spread the good news of Jesus within your community. Enjoy!

-Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations

Dec 2023 – Content

  • What’s Your Story? 
  • How Will You Serve?  
  • “Marketing” To Pray For People? 
  • Could an Online Review Make the Difference?
  • Is Old School New Again?

What’s Your Story?

Your church has a compelling story to share with your community. Make sure to craft that story in a way that appeals to them. This is why before developing a marketing strategy, you have to do some contextualization homework. That will help you craft a message that quickly and simply conveys how your church’s vision is good news for your community. 

The Bible offers different metaphors to describe how the gospel offers true life to a dying world (living water, bread of life, justification, healing, hope, etc.). Your church should do the same. What sounds like good news in your context? Will your church offer hope to the hopeless, healing to the broken, direction to the wanderer, community to the lonely? Whatever it is, then craft a message that tells them so and share it with as many people as possible. To help you develop this concise message, we recommend reading Donald Miler’s Building A Story Brand. Then consider taking advantage of their free course and brand script to help you craft your message. 

How Will You Serve?    

If your church is considering spending money on a marketing campaign, whether online, in the mail, using signs, etc., make sure to first do the hard work of building positive brand recognition in your community. Simply put, serve your community before inviting them to a service. You want people to have a positive connection with your church before they see any of your marketing media. 

If the first time your community hears of the new church is from an impersonal marketing piece, chances are it will be tossed in the trash before it’s read. But if the recipient sees your logo on a piece of marketing and thinks, “Oh, that’s the church that offered the diaper changing station at the community festival,” the chances of them engaging with your message drastically increases. That’s why we encourage all our church planters to develop a Church Outreach Strategy to work in tandem with their Marketing Strategy. Use our free Outreach Strategy template to get started on yours. 

“Marketing” To Pray For People?

How is your church doing obeying 1 Timothy 2:1? That verse urges us to lift others up to God with prayers, petitions, intercession and thanksgiving. Is your church doing that? Are you strategically praying for the needs of people within your church? What about people who live in your community, but aren’t in your church? How are you connecting with them, hearing their prayer requests, and praying for them? 

Have you thought about posting an offer to pray for people and then spending money to boost or promote your post? One church planter we know did that and got many people to DM in prayer requests. He has been able to pray for people in his town he probably wouldn’t have otherwise met, and it has started several meaningful spiritual conversations online.

How else could you invite people to submit prayer requests online? If you have a YouTube channel, what if you made a short video about prayer and then ask people to submit prayer requests through a simple form on your website? You could do the same thing on any other social media platforms your church utilizes. Here is an example of a prayer request video we created in 5 minutes. That same planter above added a ‘how can I pray for you?’ link to his Google Business listing which shows up when people are searching for churches in his area.

When people ask for prayer, don’t just pray for them. Make sure to follow up with them at the appropriate time to see how God answered the prayer. Don’t be afraid to invite them to your church family and see how you can continue to encourage them in their walk with the Lord.

Could an Online Review Make the Difference?

How much time do you spend online each day? If you’re like most people, the answer is several hours. It’s where we go to check the stock market, sports scores, the weather, get directions, or find a great dentist. People do the same thing when they are looking for a church. They check it out online first. Even when invited by a friend, most people will investigate the church online before attending. 

Have you ever decided to go or not go to a restaurant or dentist based on online reviews other people have left? Are there people in your community who will decide to come or not come to your worship gatherings based on online reviews (or lack thereof)? Get at least 10 positive online reviews from people who love your church. To do this, first create listings on Google MapsApple MapsYelp and a Facebook page. Then ask individuals in your church or launch team to leave a positive review on these listings. These reviews will help with your website rank (SEO), the maps will help people find you physical location, and the reviews themselves may just tip the scales for someone who is deciding whether or not to give church a chance. 

Is Old School New Again?  

Some churches these days are revisiting old school marketing methods to share their story and start conversations in their communities. Especially around holidays like Christmas and Easter, they saturate their community with marketing pieces like direct mail postcards and advertisements in the local ValPak. Our church has started to advertise through Valpak and we’ve seen new people show up at church in response.

The challenge to this type of marketing is finding out what’s most effective in your area. If your mailbox is overflowing with direct mail marketing pieces from businesses and churches, it’s probably better to invest in alternative marketing methods. Hang up flyers on community bulletin boards, advertise on a billboard, print out invite cards for people in your church to handout where they live, work and play, canvas your neighborhood with hand-delivered flyers on people’s doorsteps. 

Whatever you do make sure before you invest time, energy and money into any marketing campaign to train your people on how to start conversations with their friends and neighbors about Jesus and your church. The most effective marketing is personal invitation. The effectiveness of marketing methods like direct mail, ValPak, hand-delivered flyers, invite cards, billboards increase dramatically when you see them as tools to help your people start spiritual conversations in your community. Is it time for your church to go old school? 

Photos by Pro Church Media, Etienne Girardet, Victoria Kubiaki, Jon Tyson, Henry Perk, and Ben White from Unsplash.