Congregational Excellence

Resource Report

December / 2019

10 Tips to Maximize Your High Attendance Communication

 

Christmas is days away, so it is time to make a plan to ramp up for high attendance season. Remember that un-churched people are very receptive to coming to church during this time.

 If you had 15 seconds to describe why folks should come to your church this season, what would you say? Be sure you emphasize that in all of your communication channels. This is the best time of year to connect with hearts and emotions. This is where personal testimonies and stories can hit a home run. Stories about how families can make Christmas more special, or how giving in time or money changed a life. It is the ideal time to let folks know church is the place to be to have a more meaningful 2020.

 

10 Publicity Tips

TIP #1: WORD OF MOUTH is the best publicity. Create a culture of invitation; most of the time people will come to church if they are invited.

TIP #2: Create Facebook events and get members to share them on their personal pages. With a few social media champions you could create a virtual ‘street team’ to leverage all social media platforms available.

TIP #3: Post a simple video or do a brief Facebook LIVE broadcast, by previewing rehearsals or holiday decorating with an excited spokesperson encouraging them to attend. Better yet, have a child invite people to come—who could resist? There are many free Christmas videos you might use to engage people before and during the season.

TIP #4: Purchase a Facebook ad (pay per click) at very low cost or “boost” a FB post that you have already created. You can even choose the criteria of those you want to receive it on their news feed.

TIP #5: Submit events to community calendars, local media or Chamber and put flyers on area bulletin boards. Get your people jazzed about everything by posting a poster in the bathroom stalls; you even call it the Stall Street Journal!

TIP #6: When you post pictures from rehearsals and behind-the-scenes prep to generate excitement and #tag as many people as possible.

TIP #7: Create engagement by asking questions on social media such as Share your favorite holiday traditions or recipes. These are popular conversation starters that folks might also “SHARE” if particularly moving or funny.

TIP #8: Schedule plenty of childcare helpers and mention childcare in all your publicity.

TIP #9: Be accessible; if your church office closes early for the holidays, forward calls or ask some loyal volunteers to be available to those that decide at the last minute to attend a church event.

TIP #10: Be creative. Put a banner on a visible drive-by area of your campus, or hand out yard signs for members to place on their lawns as reminders to folks passing by. Maybe create a family photo booth in the next week or two and encourage them to “share” holiday hoopla in their digital neighborhood. Some churches get creative with flash mobs in public places, free gift wrapping services or handouts at holiday parades. If you church has a relationship with preschools or schools in the area, see if you can send a half page flyer about holiday activities at church to the kids’ home via backpack express.

 

 

 

Churches get so wrapped up in creating the best Christmas season ever that they forget to mention what’s coming next!

 

What will your congregation have to offer in the New Year?

  • Offer free exercise classes to help people work off holiday pounds.
  • In January the holiday bills will hit the mailbox. Teach a money management class that helps people learn biblical principles for handling their finances.
  •  Begin a new class or small group for newcomers interested in learning more about the church, Christianity and each other.
  • Pull your youth together to provide free childcare for a "parents' night out" service to the congregation and the community.
  • Whatever you are offering or adding, have something in writing, perhaps a bulletin insert or part of the bulletin itself as a takeaway.

 

People need to know what you have to offer before they can get involved. At least mention sermon series, classes or ideas that are underway and encourage all to watch the website, FB or eblasts for more details.

Vibrant Church Initiative Vision Workshop

What do you know about your Mission field?

As a part of their VCI Vision workshop, FUMC Lexington members recently 1) identified the congregation's core values and 2) explored the community via analysis of the MissionInsite report. Work groups reviewed insight on everything from housing to income to identify where God might be inviting them to make an impact.

 

Contact the Center for Congregational Excellence to access free reports on demographics related to your church.

Sixteen pastors and 24 laity from 43 churches attended the Generosity workshop for small membership churches in November. Many participants expressed thanks to the Texas Conference Center for Congregational Excellence for providing this insightful series.

When it comes to innovative new faith communities, Rev. Morris Matthis, who directs this outreach on behalf of the Conference, knows ministry over a shared meal is a popular concept in this foodie-fan world of today. The Houston Chronicle recently featured Rev. Meredith Wende Mills leading such a ministry, called Gastrochurch. Church planters experienced this phenomenon during their October gathering, getting ideas and inspiration for their new ministry efforts.

Investing in the Young:

Multiple Opportunities Ahead

We've got you covered from January to June, with an array of opportunities to facilitate spiritual development with your youth and young adults. Local church leaders can find details on the Perkins School of Youth Ministry (January), Ignite Retreats for 7-12th graders (Feb/March), the Lead Retreat (April) and Texas Youth Academy (June) at the Youth & Young Adult News website. And, watch for an update on innovative youth ministry ideas and initiatives in the January RESOURCE REPORT from the Center of Congregational Excellence.

 

If your family is like mine, you likely will receive numerous Christmas cards from family and friends along with several invitations to holiday parties and gatherings. My guess is we probably accept most, if not all, of those invitations to go, whether it be from friends, family, colleagues at work, folks in our church families, or neighbors. In the midst of our hectic holiday schedules, and all those invitations, we often lose – or fail to extend - the most important invitation of all: the invitation to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus!

This year, why not invite the children in your community to a Happy Birthday, Jesus party? Perhaps the party could be held during your Christmas Eve Candlelight Service or during an earlier “child friendly” time such as 4:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. on that special evening. Ask local child care workers, school staff, children’s coaches or piano teachers if the families in your community might respond better to a Saturday morning or Sunday evening during Advent. Once a date and time has been set, get busy extending invitations to the children and families of your community!

Here are some activities you might engage in during your party:

·      Serve a Happy Birthday, Jesus cake with candles and the “Happy Birthday” song!

·      Decorate the party area with balloons, advent chains, etc.

·      Play Pin the Hay in the Manger.

·      Allow attendees to make a birthday card or birthday hats for Jesus. Place them on the altar or under the Chrismon tree when complete.

·      Read Luke 2 and have attendees act it out.

·      Play musical chairs with Christmas carols;

·      Eat candy canes while reading the Legend of the Candy Cane.

 

Oriental Trading offers inexpensive Happy Birthday, Jesus themed party favors, craft activities, and decorations. Happy Birthday, Jesus section: Find it here.

February 22: Save the Date

 

A don't miss event from Perkins School of Theology is fast approaching this February.

 

Mark your calendar and look for more details to follow: Information here

Congregational Excellence Staff

Rev. Robert Besser,

Congregational Excellence Director

Rev. Arturo Cadar,

Coordinator of Mission Field Development

Rev. Jill Daniel,

We Love All God's Children Director

Eddie Erwin, 

Youth & Young Adult Director

Rev. Morris Matthis,

New Faith Communities Director

Ana Robles, 

Administrative Assistant

Amy Stephenson,

Congregational Excellence

Administrative Assistant

Rev. Mike Tyson, 

Vibrant Church

Initiative Director

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5215 Main Street • Houston, TX 77002

Phone: 713-521-9383 • Toll Free: 877-774-2700

 
Texas Annual Conference of the UMC | 5215 Main, Houston, TX 77002