By Thom S. Rainer
I am a student of the local church, particularly church outreach.
I love to see and hear how churches are reaching their communities more effectively. I love to see and hear how congregations are becoming more Great Commission focused.
It is an honor to share with the readers of this blog some of the input I am receiving. I am particularly grateful to the community at Church Answers for their constant feedback and input. Though the ways to reach a community are seemingly unending, allow me to share four that seem to be growing in use and effectiveness.
- Advertising on Waze. This navigation and traffic monitoring app has been ranked as high as number one in the fastest-growing apps. This Google-owned service has actually replaced many of the standard navigation apps in operation today. Some churches are taking advantage of the low cost of advertising on Waze, as the service seeks to become more aggressive toward monetization. The advertising rates will likely rise in the future, so some church leaders are wisely making the move to lock in several months of advertising now.
- Adding a Thursday night service on holiday weekends. Both church members and unchurched community members travel on holiday weekends, particularly those with the holiday falling on a Monday. A few creative churches are adding a service on Thursday for those who might be on the road Friday to Monday. To be clear, these churches are only having Thursday evening services on holiday weekends, but a number of other churches are making the Thursday service a permanent feature.
- Celebrating grandparents’ day. There are early indicators that the large and aging Boomer generation (those born between 1946 to 1964) might be receptive to returning to church if they have been out for a while. I keep watching for ways churches are attempting to connect with this generation. Having a grandparents’ recognition and celebration day has become effective for a number of churches.
- Praying over homes in the community. Many churches have begun to send their members in the community to walk in the neighborhoods and pray for the families in each home. We have used to Pray and Go as our primary tool. When a member prays over a home, he or she leaves a door hanger to let the family in the home know someone prayed for them. We continue to get exciting reports about this ministry and approach to outreach.
These are four examples of unique approaches to church outreach that are getting traction. Would you share with us some of the approaches your church is seeing bear fruit? I am particularly interested in those forms of outreach that are effective in reaching people and seeing them become connected to your churches.
Let me hear from you.
Posted on November 18, 2019
With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
More from Thom
Very interesting, but I’m wondering if there will ever be a better plan for spreading the gospel of Christ than corporate prayer where churches come together regularly and consistently to pray for the lost in their communities.
The church of the Highlands is a non-denominational church headquartered in Birmingham. It is the largest congregation in Alabama and the second largest church in the U.S. as of 2018. They average around 53,000 attendees every week. They have 19 campuses in Alabama, 5 of which are in Birmingham. Each campus has its own pastor, worship team, small group gatherings and ministry opportunities. They are also serving in 18 Alabama state correctional facilities with Sunday services and small groups.
The church was totally founded on prayer in 2001 by senior pastor Chris Hodges and a core group of 34 people. Corporate prayer has continued to be the foundation of everything the church does. They have a corporate prayer meeting at each campus every Saturday morning. In addition, each year in January and August they have 21 days of prayer and fasting where they actually come together at each campus early in the morning to pray in community. Pastor Chris and all the leadership constantly give God all the credit for all the supernatural they see and attribute all of it to prayer. They never have giving campaigns and all of their facilities are paid for. They operate on a relatively small percentage of their total income and give away the rest for church planting, missions and disaster relief. On Easter weekend 2019 they had over 11,000 people come to Christ.
Kie Bowman, the Senior Pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Austin Texas and in October was elected President Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, recently co-authored City of Prayer, a book demonstrating how corporate prayer can change major cities.
Grandparent’s Day has been successful at my church. I pastor a revitalizing church that began with a median age of 73. For two years running, Grandparent’s Day has been one of the highest-attended Sundays of the year and has demonstrated the church’s commitment to the elderly even though there are many changes being made to reach younger generations.
We do a “Patriots Day” around the 4th of July. We recognize our volunteer and professional police fire and EMTs. We give small gifts and certificates and follow with a dinner in their honor. The leave with horns and sirens blaring. We have reached several families through this special day.
We’ve looked at how Jesus ministered out in the marketplace, and copies with a few process additions, mainly to incorporate the H.S. more actively. “Power Evangelism” is something He practiced, and us too. Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mOwwuE4MQ8&t=68s