The newspapers and mainstream media would have you believe that we live in a godless world where people are falling away from faith in enormous numbers. There’s a strong temptation to believe that’s true – and that modern times are at fault for empty seats and dwindling memberships reported by so many churches. If it were the real truth, though, how does one explain the growing congregations of megachurches that use modern technology to reach out to believers? How does one explain the number of thriving small churches that dot city streets and small town roads? The truth is that people are hungry for God and guidance and leadership – but they don’t always know where to find it.
That was the realization that mobilized one local pastor to take action and reach out to meet the community where it gathers – online. The three simple steps he took are no more than simple logic once you understand the reasoning behind the three simple steps he took.
Let the Community Know You Exist
Neighborhood churches that serve the local community are at a disadvantage. Many of them lack the funds for signage and large-scale community outreach. Local business directories may seem like a stretch, but the latest community social directories provide far more than business listings. Websites like FindUsLocal.com are dedicated to helping community members connect with important services and organizations that are local to them. By making sure that the church is included in the local church listings, the pastor or outreach director is ensuring that those seeking a congregation can find them.
Once you locate your listing – or ask to have your church added to the church listings – take the time to add a welcoming message. An invitation to join the congregation for worship works wonders in making hesitant newcomers feel welcome. By keeping your profile updated and making sure that it lists community worship times, you’re extending an open invitation – and people are often just waiting for an invitation.
Even better, on some local directories, a premium listing will give you a whole page that you can customize. Use it to let the community know about your activities – list your ministries, post scheduled meetings and let the congregation know about the opportunities for sharing that you offer.
Make a Joyful Noise
One of the most valuable things you can do on an ongoing basis is to communicate regularly – not just with your congregation but with the community as a whole. Take advantage of social media tools like those offered through FindUsLocal.com to post inspirational messages daily via Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. The FindUsLocal.com tool makes it especially easy by giving you a dashboard that lets you post to multiple social media platforms from one place. Add a hash tag with your town’s name and your message will show up on the front page of FindUsLocal.com when people from your community visit the site.
It’s easy for small churches to be overlooked or get lost in the noise of everyday living. That’s why it’s important to raise your visibility and help people find their way to you.