There are many factors people can consider before deciding to try out a church for the first time. A person may be invited by a friend, they could see your website or Facebook page, they could happen to pass by your church, and the list goes on. Obviously hearing from a trusted friend is going to be the most effective method here, but how do you reach someone that doesn’t have a friend that goes to your church? Which method is the most effective at reaching people while you are preparing your sermon for Sunday or getting that event planned?
According to the research done by Thomas Ranier on page 18 of his book, Surprising Insights From the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them, this is the top 13 reasons the unchurched choose a church:
- 90% – Pastor/Preaching
- 88% – Doctrines
- 49% – Friendliness of Members
- 42% – Other Issues
- 41% – Someone Church Witnessed to Me
- 38% – Family Member
- 37% – Sensed God’s Presence/Atmosphere of Church
- 25% – Relationship Other than Family Member
- 25% – Sunday School Class
- 25% – Children’s/Youth Ministry
- 12% – Other Groups/Ministries
- 11% – Worship Style/Music
- 7% – Location
So it appears that the most effective way to reach the unchurched is to let them experience one of your sermons. This can be a little tough if the only place they can hear a service is in your doors. Your losing out on a large draw to your church.
People already spend a lot of time online, so this is a naturally effective medium to reach them in. We spend hours on Facebook and other social media sites and creating a page for your church is free. It’s also a great place to meet people you don’t know as their Facebook accounts are stationary and people visit them often times daily. You don’t have to depend on running into someone at the right moment and striking up a conversation anymore.
This doesn’t solve the problem though. You know where to find people, but what is the best way to engage them? You still have to show someone your sermon online, and just adding strangers to your friends list on Facebook is definitely frowned upon.
You can choose to record a service through audio and have it available for download, but that isn’t conducive with many social media outlets. People are forced to leave the site they are on, go to the sermon section on your site, and download the audio. Often times people won’t take the time to go to another site. Even when someone does come across your site through an online search, audio isn’t typically the preferred method to take in a message. So how do you catch their attention?
90% of people will choose to watch a video over any other way of being reached. A simple link to a YouTube video of your sermon can be played directly on Facebook so you don’t lose the people who won’t leave their news feed. You can share the video on your page and encourage the people that already attend your church regularly to “like” it or share it on their page. Congratulations! You are now effectively using the method that 90% of unchurched people and 52% of churched people use to make a decision to visit a church!
So just recording what you already do at service time on Sunday and uploading it online can help increase your reach drastically. It really doesn’t require much effort either. God has given you a message to reach your community with, and using this simple method can help you do that even better. Grab a camera and let people see what you are made of.