We don’t have as much control over who comes to church as we think we do. There are so many things people can choose to do with their Sunday mornings, and many of them feel really compelling. I remember an exchange I had with the mother of some church youth who explained their regular Sunday morning absence by insisting that, “Once a week we’re going to have breakfast together as a family, and sometimes that once is Sunday.” Who would argue with that?
In this light, the best strategies for church marketing and communication seem mostly to remove barriers to participation for those who have already decided in favor, rather than persuading those who are on the fence. Our website and our Facebook page and our email newsletter need to make information clear and easy to act upon: worship is at 10. Here is the address. Here is where to park. Here’s a video of what a service is like.
We can do that well. It’s not that hard. Then we can put the rest of our energy and intention on the experience people have once they’re there. The best outreach is wasted if people don’t find meaningful connection and purpose once they arrive.