How well do the people in your street, immediate vicinity, community or suburb know about the activities of your church? If they are not aware of what happens at your church, maybe you should look very closely at marketing. Yes, advertising what your church or Christian group has to offer. If you already do this, then give this a miss and check out my blog next month. However, if you are not sure what people know about your church, then now is the time to do something about it.
I am not going to suggest the latest methods for marketing as I am of the age group which reads brochures and newspapers in preference to digital marketing, but the message is what concerns me. The Bible contains the most wonderful life-giving promises - take John 3:16 for example. But the promises don't stop there. I love Philippians 4:6-7 - " Don't worry about anything...." - we all have our favourites. But the Bible clearly says in Matthew 28:19
" Go and make disciples..." How many churches expect people to 'come to us' without 'going' first?
All church activities should be regarded as mission or outreach and open to everyone as opposed to those activities which nourish and build up the Christian family.
I would love to see a market day/morning used as a means of welcoming people onto church property and giving them a letter of invitation and a list of church activities. How about a letter box drop with this information as well as an invitation for parents to bring their children to church on Sundays for 'kids' activities' and to collect them an hour later, maybe over a cuppa. This may be looked upon as free childminding, but the children are at least learning about God's love for them. And those seniors' groups, youth groups, craft groups etc. - are they open to anyone who would like to join in? Do people really know that these groups exist and they are most welcome to attend? If you have a local market, how about having a stall there with your promotional material, along with items for sale?
While visiting relatives, I have attended church with them and although I have been made most welcome and have been so impressed with all the meetings and activities held during the week, how many people who don't attend church know what is going on? If they are made aware, that does not guarantee that they will ever join in, but at least they have been invited.
That Sunday School song 'Jesus Bids Us Shine' will be remembered by people of my generation ( or older!) and especially true is the last line "You in your small corner and I in mine". As important as it is for each person to share and live the love of God, in this post Christian era, the church needs to be visible as well. Everyone knows of the Salvation Army and the wonderful work they do in Jesus' name, but how well does your community know what your church is doing in Jesus' name?
So sell it, market it in whatever way is appropriate, but let people know that your church has a life-giving message and is there for them.