From the book 101 Things You Can Do to Help Grow Your Church by Bill Tenny-Brittian
Over the years there have been many studies and surveys and polls that have told us that the vast majority of people in the US would be willing to go to a church event if a close friend or relative invited them. And by vast majority, I mean in the mid 80 percentile.
How’s that working for you?
Most church members that I’ve met have told me they’ve asked pretty much everyone they know to join them for church and pretty much everyone has replied, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Now, to begin with, if you’re still inviting people to church, take a look back at Chapter 3 and stop it (unless that’s been working for you!). Instead, you’ll want to invest in inviting to events. And I hope you’ll be making personal invitations to your close friends.
But what about all those not-so-close friends and acquaintances?
Once upon a time, if you wanted to invite several friends to a birthday party, you would head over to Hallmark or another stationary store, pick up some colorful invitations, handwrite the details on the cards, put them in an envelope, and mail them. (Yes, we really used to do that once upon a time!) Today, however, we send evites (evites.com) or social media invitations so we can cover more ground with less work … with fewer dead trees or pricey postage.
But we’re not talking about birthday parties here, unless of course we’re talking about Christmas. Instead, we’re talking about all those events that your church hosts during the year. The Lenten lunches. The Easter sunrise service. The dinner theater. The sermon series. The new small groups. Over the course of a year, your church is likely hosting a lot of events – and hopefully, your church office is busy creating a corresponding Facebook or Linked-In or some other social media Event that tells the world what’s coming up at your church.
If your church is creating social media Events, you can leverage those Event posts to significantly help grow your church. Every couple of weeks, head over to your church’s Facebook, Linked-In, and/or other social media pages and click on the Events link. When you do, you’ll see the upcoming events that your church is promoting … so help them out.
There are a number of ways you can help get the word out … and invite your friends and acquaintances … using your church’s social media Events.
- First, you can simply Share the Event on your own page or timeline. When you do, you’ll invariably be able to add your own personal words of invitation to those who see the Event. This is a good place to add your personal recommendation about the event … and if you’re going to be attending, be sure to let folks know they’ll see you there.
- Second, you can send a personal invitation to select friends. For instance, if there’s an upcoming Divorce Recovery workshop or if your pastor is doing a series on Surviving Divorce, you may want to send a personal invitation to your friends who are dealing (or have dealt) with the issue. Currently, in Facebook a list of all your friends pop up when you click on the Invite button or link and you can select those you want to send an invitation to.
- Third, and even better, do both! By Sharing the Event, the social media algorithms will display it to a wide variety of friends (who might Share your Share and exponentially increase the number of people who see it). And by pinpoint inviting, you’ll be sure those friends who might be most interested in the event will actually see the invite.
- BONUS: Go a step further and create a short video to invite your friends to your church’s events. This is easy with Instagram and Facebook (hint, make the video using Instagram and you can send it to your Facebook account instantly). Because videos get more views than other kinds of posts, your personalized invitation has a better chance of striking a chord with one of your friends … who might actually choose to show up. Score!