Have you seen what a church campaign can do?
It attracts your community, challenges your members, and boosts momentum in your church.
And what I like best is that it’s not rocket science.
You can pull off a successful campaign with a little effort and a lot of clarity about what to do.
There are five key areas to nail when ramping up for a church campaign: casting vision, starting small groups, praying, developing your marketing strategy, and coordinating with ministry teams.
To get a step-by-step timeline for campaign prep and a week-by-week breakdown of action items during the campaign, and weekly updates, download my free checklist of proven action items: The Ultimate Checklist for a Church Campaign.
In the meantime, take a closer look at these five key areas.
1. Cast Vision. Raise Excitement.
Pick a Topic.
The most compelling factors in drawing unchurched people are the inviter and the topic. An enthusiastic inviter is hard to resist. And a relevant topic that promises life-improvement sells itself.
We have found that the most compelling topics are: marriage, family, life’s purpose, the future, and answers to questions about God, Jesus, or the Bible. The Bible speaks volumes on each of these subjects.
Privately, think through what you will do AFTER the campaign is over.
It is the job of the leader to mind the future. What incentive will you offer newcomers to persuade them to keep coming once the campaign is over? Is there a “next hill” you can encourage the congregation to take as soon as the series is over, so they stay engaged and look to the future?
Meet with your leadership team and share the vision.
What are we doing, and why? Why are you excited about it? What will it look like? What needs to happen to make it successful? Show them a copy of the book you’ll be using. If you have them on hand already, encourage your leaders to buy and begin reading so they’ll be one step ahead of the campaign when it launches.
Share the vision with the congregation.
One month before the campaign begins.
Begin selling the books then, too.
This will get people excited. Some won’t invite their friends without knowing what they’re getting into. This enables them to “try before they buy.”
Vision cast for the campaign during your messages leading up to the campaign.
Forecast the messages in the series, paint a picture of what God might do, and how good it will feel if friends come and become part of God’s family during the series.
Preach a preview the week before the campaign begins.
You may not have time in your calendar to do this for every series, but we know that people learn best by repetition. Tell them what you’re going to tell them during the series. Especially tell them how they and their unchurched friends will benefit from the series.
2. Start Small Groups
Recruit Small Group Leaders.
With a well written Campaign Discussion Guide, your Small Group Leaders don’t need to have the gift of teaching. They just need to love the Lord, be willing to host a group, and make a few weekly phone calls.
Begin recruiting as many leaders as possible to lead small groups (or Sunday school classes) during the campaign. Orchestrate who will be leading a group, where, and when, so you can publicize it.
Meet with your small group leaders/Sunday school teachers.
Go over what is expected of them during the campaign.
Start taking sign-up for small groups a month before the campaign launches.
Make this as easy as possible. Print your line up of group or class opportunities in your bulletin and let them register for one on their Connection Card. Also, have a table in the lobby where they can ask questions and sign up. Let them know through your church-wide email, and create a registration form on your website. People like options.
Preach on Small Groups three weeks before the campaign begins.
Let your congregation know the benefits of Small Groups. Jesus had a Small Group. Paul had a Small Group. David had a Small Group. Psalm 133 is perfect for preaching on Small Groups. So is Acts 2:46, along with most of the “One Another” passages in the New Testament.
Preach a Second Sermon on Small Groups two weeks before.
The majority of your church members do not attend every weekend, so anything worth saying should be said twice. Find a Small Groups passage and preach a second sermon.
Continue small group sign-ups through the first week of the campaign.
Encourage your people to sign up their friends as soon as they can.
Be sure the small group leaders are informed and equipped.
Enlist a Prayer Team of three to five people.
Meet and pray regularly about the fruit of this campaign. Keep them updated as plans develop, so they can pray intelligently.
Ask your congregation to begin praying specifically for four friends they will invite to the campaign.
Insert either two printed cards or two blank 3×5 cards in your bulletin. During the service, ask everyone to take a minute and prayerfully write down the names of four (or more) people they will invite. Put all four names on each of the cards. Turn in one with the offering, and keep the other one as a prayer reminder.
Give the cards to your Prayer Team to pray over.
Put two more Prayer Cards in each bulletin the next weekend.
Repeat the announcement for anyone who wasn’t there or didn’t turn in a card last week.
Encourage people to continue to pray for the four friends on their card.
And keep your Prayer Team updated and motivated.
4. Develop your Marketing Strategy
Use this Campaign not only to attract newcomers, but to remind your community that your church is here.
One of the least expensive tools I know of is Invite Cards. They are business-sized cards you can buy and print your specific information on the back.
If you’re able to invest a little money in advertising, I recommend you send a postcard. Get your money’s worth out of postcards by following a few simple strategies.
I strongly encourage you to invest in a street-side banner for your campaign. Keep the banner simple enough that people can read it as they drive past. Make sure to put dates, service times, and the church website on it. You should consider ordering banners for the lobby, too.
Some churches print and distribute door-hangers. You could also rent billboards, the sides of buses, or pay for a commercial in a nearby theater.
My friends at Outreach, Inc. can help you with designing and mailing your postcards. And Outreach has actually designed a special card for The God Questions, Fireproof, and To Save A Life, so you can order those specifically, if you’re doing one of those series. Outreach can also help you with banners and door hangers.
Have someone design a Facebook page for the series.
Provide invitational tools to your members one month before the campaign begins.
Place two invitation cards in every bulletin and ask your members to begin praying and inviting friends. Make extra stacks of cards available for those who want more.
Put your banner up this week, too.
If you’re going to do a community mailer, have it finished and the date set to have it to the post office.
Announce your Campaign on your church’s website and Facebook page a month out, also.
Consider Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat as means to get the word out as well. Encourage your people to use the Facebook campaign page to invite their friends. Encourage them to Like and Share and retweet.
If you’re using doorhangers, organize a group to go door-to-door eight days before the start.
Mail postcards eight to ten days before the campaign begins.
Mail carriers have a five-day window in which they can deliver bulk mail. Ideally, your postcards will land between Tuesday and Thursday of the week of your campaign. Expect about a ½% return on your postcards. So, if you mail 10,000, expect to see 50 visitors.
5. Coordinate with Ministry Teams.
Plan the preaching/teaching schedule.
Meet with the worship/program team.
And design what you’d like to have happen during each of the services in this campaign.
Coordinate with your youth ministry.
Should they participate in the campaign? If so, what will that look like for them? How will the youth encourage their unchurched friends to attend? How will they/we make the series relevant to teens?
Make a list of facility items that need to be spruced up.
Enlist a team to make the improvements – just like you would if you were inviting guests to your home a few weeks from now.
Begin selling the books four weeks before the campaign.
That’s the same weekend you launch small group sign ups and the marketing. This will get people excited. Some won’t invite their friends without knowing what they’re getting into. This enables them to “try before they buy.”
It’s better to sell books for the campaign, rather than give them away. People are invested in what they invest in, so if you give them a free book, they will treat it like it’s free. But if they pay for it, they will value it. You can provide scholarships for those who can’t afford them. We try to buy books for under $10, then sell them for $10, and use the difference to help pay for the advertising.
Meet with your leaders a couple of weeks before it begins to review any necessary details.
- Meet with your first impressions, hospitality and usher teams. Make sure they are ready to care for newcomers.
- Make sure you have enough people to make newcomer phone calls within 48 hours of next weekend’s services.
- Make sure you are ready to write hand-written notes to each guest, inviting them back for the rest of the series.
- Make sure your building is as ready as possible to welcome newcomers.
If you would like to learn what to do week-by-week during the campaign, and get the step-by-step checklist to prep for the campaign, plus weekly updates with more ideas to reach your community and grow your church, sign up and download The Ultimate Checklist for a Church Campaign.
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