5 Ways to Promote Your Awesome Congregation
It’s a sad week in Ory-Gun. Yes, the Ducks lost (a piddly little football game). But oddly, the next day, the sun actually broke through the fog. Why, it’s as if Annie herself was belting out, “OOOOOOOOO, the sun’ll come out tomorrow…” And life has moved on. Congrats, Bucks. There’s always next year, Ducks.
During the commercials, I looked through one of my favorite books from last year – Guy Kawasaki’s, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. In one section, Kawasaki writes about creating “ecosystems” – “The presence of a community that complements a cause [which] fosters endurance.” For our purposes, let’s call those ecosystems “congregations.”
Kawasaki outlines nine ways to engage and encourage people to join your ecosystem/congregation – here are five of them:
- Create something that’s worthy of a [congregation]: In his own words, Kawasaki says, “The key to enchantment, evangelism, sales, presentations, and building an ecosystem is a great cause.” There it is again, what is your congregation’s cause? What’s its vision for itself and its community? Check this out: The Secret Reason Why Good Churches Die (I'm sorry that these blog titles are often depressing, but it’s still worth reading.).
- Identify and recruit your evangelists. How funny is that? A secular author is talking about evangelism. And, he’s not embarrassed. He encourages his people to go out and recruit people to his cause. It’s time we reclaimed the word “evangelist” and did a little evangelizing about the Good News we have to share.
- Give people something meaningful to do. Do you give people in your congregation permission to create ministries that excite them? Are you matching people to their passions or are you matching them to a committee that needs to be filled? Which do you think is more fulfilling?
- Foster discourse. How are you getting feedback about how things are going? Do an email Survey Monkey with ten questions, start a blog that asks provocative questions, meet with a small group of 8-10 different people on a monthly basis. “This doesn’t mean you let the ecosystem run your company, but you should listen to what members have to say.”
- Publicize the existence of the [congregation]. As churches have had to cut budgets, most marketing and advertising has gone by the wayside. And how has that worked for everyone? Spend time figuring out how people outside your congregation get information, what they are interested in, and how you can reach them. Some people still read the newspaper looking for something interesting; others see fliers for great classes in coffee shops. Your sermon series may be just the thing someone who doesn’t go to church needs – how can you get the word out to them?
It’s not easy work, I’ll grant you that. But pick one idea and really see it through. I can almost guarantee that you will see a difference…not only in your congregation, but in yourself as well.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. She wants to give kudos to her husband, Tom (an Ohio State U alumnus) for not gloating all week. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.