Awhile back, I was in the middle of a meeting with our leadership team for the church I pastor (Next Level Church) discussing the purpose and meaning of “Sunday Morning” church services. What came out of that impromptu discussion was a thought that I was convinced would help thousands and thousands of ministries radically increase attendance within 3 to 18 months.
Pastor, this slight change in your paradigm and approach to Sunday mornings can make all the difference in your quest for growth and fulfillment of the vision God’s placed in your heart. Don’t worry, It has nothing to do with your preaching/teaching style, the style of music, or even the length of service. You won’t have to do anything crazy or “weird.” In fact, most of the factors you’re looking at don’t even really matter as much as you think it does when it comes to attracting people to your ministry.
Here it is: Stop viewing and producing your Sunday gatherings as your front-end marketing tool. You’re guilty of it, I’m guilty of it, and just about every church I know of is guilty of it. Everything we do in order to attract and grow our ministries is centered around the “sunday Morning” gathering (or whatever day your main worship gathering is).
Two of the primary Sunday metrics we keep track of are new conversions and new members. If you were to be talking with your peers, those metrics (along with the offering raised) are the biggest components we look at. However, that mindset actually causes us to dilute the congruency of our Sunday gatherings and it puts too much pressure on how you actually prepare for Sunday.
For sake of staying consistent with the marketing thrust of Ministry Revolution, I won’t delve into how it dilutes the congruency of the Sunday experience. I’ll stick with the marketing aspect of it. However, you should still explore this idea more thoroughly because I’m convinced there’s merit to it. Now to the marketing and attracting parts…
If you’re honest, you probably believe the only thing keeping people from “joining” your church or becoming converted is that they haven’t been to your actual location to experience it. Everything is geared to get people to come to your church to experience your teaching, love, kids ministry, and etc. Without a doubt, this is the number one way that churches have developed to draw people to their ministry.
In order to stay along these lines for attracting people, ministry now requires certain features and benefits in order to “win” the guests that visit. This is one of the reasons you feel such a need for “excellence.” Although we do things excellently because it’s the implicit Kingdom culture, we also structure, design, and facilitate our ministries to turn new guests into new converts/members.
From the kids ministry all the way down the worship celebration, giving appeals, required attire, and your message. It’s all heavily weighted with knowing that “guests are in attendance” and we need to make sure they experience a phenomenal ministry. This is so true that we END our services with these two major calls-to-action- be converted and/or join our ministry. You know I’m telling the truth.
Just like God asked Adam and Eve in the garden, “Who told you that you were naked,” I ask a similar question: Who told you Sundays are the best tools for gaining new converts and members? Seriously. Now, I know you and your church engage in evangelism throughout the week and don’t limit it to Sundays, but you most likely have dumped the majority of your ministry’s budget to conduct Sunday morning. The reason- you want new members and new converts.
That’s why we feel the need to DO church the way we do it- to be attractive to guests so they can become new converts and new members. Please hear me- there’s nothing inherently wrong with this. However, it just points out a blaring deficiency in our approach. We place the majority of our resources (financial, volunteer, and attention) towards pulling off successful Sunday gatherings.
If it wasn’t as much about attracting new members and new converts, but simply worship, prayer, and fellowship, churches on Sunday morning would look totally different. Probably unrecognizable. Again, there’s nothing wrong with how we DO church from a “righteous” standpoint. It’s totally acceptable. In fact, it’s working very often and people’s lives are being changed all across the country. Yet that doesn’t mean its the most effective and efficient way to market.
This is so true, you can hear this mantra in many church planting conventions and trainings how “It’s about Sunday.” We build, advertise, and promote our ministries about Sunday in order to primarily gain new members and new converts.
Dozens of the largest churches in America tell their congregants that they’re doing Sunday with the aim to win people to Christ. So if you feel it’s not “deep enough” for you, it’s because we’re trying to attract and win people to Christ…from our Sunday gathering. This is significant and it shows a major flaw.
We waste 6.92 days or 166 hours in a given week when we our primary marketing focus is on Sundays for 2 hours. Think about it for a second. You’ve boxed in your “best” marketing efforts and strategies for a two hour period, once a week. You’ve put thousands of dollars, if not millions, into optimizing this two-hour window: your building, staff, musicians and singers, volunteer force, sound system, etc. All for two hours of the week.
What would happen if you were to find other viable and effective marketing methods to help convert people and attract new members? What advantage would that give you compared to other two-hour-promoting churches? How would that change how you designed your Sunday experiences? Would that give you more leverage and freedom? Hw much pressure would that relieve from your need to “perform” on Sundays and focus on pleasing your guests in order to draw them?
When you expand your marketing initiatives into a more systematic approach to marketing and not simply based off of Sunday mornings, you’ll find many ways and many days available for you to gain new members and new converts. Would you prefer two hours a week to attract people or would you prefer 60 hours a week? Which ministry would grow faster? Which one would generate more attendance strategically?
I’ll continue this article soon with some creative ways you can market primarily and not HAVE to make Sunday be your only option.
Bryson G. Baylor is an elite marketing strategist (and pastor) recognized around the country as a leader in church marketing and church growth. He consults and trains ministries across the country and speaks at various conferences, seminars, and workshops providing breakthrough secrets to help churches generate attendance and influence on-demand.
If you want to learn how to develop a target market, a message that matches your market, and learn how to get hundreds (if not thousands) to attend your church in the 12 months schedule your FREE Strategy Session with one of our consultants.