What is the best form of outreach? Is it door-to-door evangelism? It is big events? Is it door hangers? Is it Facebook or other forms of internet media? Could it be just as simple as an invitation?
Door-to-door evangelism may still work in some areas, but many, for the most part, are skeptical of a stranger at the door. They either assume your a salesman, mormon, Jehovah's witness, and many other things. They are immediately defensive and will most of the time say whatever they have to say to get you to leave. They may even say they'll check our church out sometime. My point is that this method may not be as effective anymore.
Big events do work in someways, but the key to their success is in the invitation method. If no one knows about them, they won't come. So we have to work and work to invite. If you stick a sign up in your yard, only the people who pass by and take the time to read it may come. Note that just because they know about it doesn't mean they'll come.
Door hangers get the word out and bring the curious in to events and church services. Facebook may peak interest as people think we are tech/media savvy. But the most effective way to bring new people into our church is a simple invitation to those we know. If the person you are inviting to church or an event already knows you, the trust barrier is somewhat removed. They know you and they trust you.
Research shows that 80% of unchurched people would come to church if they were genuinely invited by a friend or family member. For example, I cannot paint. If I saw a flyer in someone's yard to come to a paint party I wouldn't come. But if someone invited me and my wife to come with them to a paint party, I would be somewhat willing to go. No one likes to go someplace new by themselves.
The pastors and leaders of our association meet several times out of the year. It made it so much easier to go to that first meeting knowing that there were people from my church there to sit with. I don't like to go into a place for the first time where I don't know anyone. You know the feeling. Any parties or events you have been to begin with you walking through the door and seeking to find a familiar face. Once you find your friend, you are immediately relieved. You are not here alone.
So back to church invites. When we invite our friends or family, we need to go the extra mile. If we think they might come, we need to wait for them at the door. Don't make them have to make the awkward search for you. Like I said before, people don't often like to walk alone into a room full of strangers; they want someone with them. We can't stick to the field of dreams mentality and hope that "if we build it (or if we offer that ministry), they will come)." You will get some to come because of ministries that you offer, but that growth is not in new Christians; it's transfer growth of people leaving other churches to come to yours.
Jesus went out and invited people to follow Him. He didn't stand at the Temple or Synagogues with a sign inviting people to come. He didn't silently live His life before men and women that they might be influenced to live like Him. He went around day after day, teaching God's truth, and inviting others to follow Him.
People don't often like to walk alone into a room full of strangers. Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Have you ever been in a situation like that before? How did you feel? When was the last time you invited a friend or family member to come to church with you? What do you think are some ways that we could better reach out to our community? Let's work this out together. Use the comment link below to share your responses.