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.