Reach People Where They Are
It is definitely easier to wait for those who haven’t previously interacted with our church or ministry to walk through our doors, but with the growing post-Christian culture in the United States, this is going to become less of a reality. Churches and ministries are going to need to figure out how to bring new people in without relying on their old methods of doing things. Since culture is changing so quickly, we need to have adaptive and flexible methods of reaching people.
The Woman at the Well
So, how do we reach people given this challenge? If we look at the way Jesus did ministry, we can see that he went where the people were. He didn’t always expect people to gather to hear him - he would go. The way Jesus interacted with the Samaritan woman at the well is a great example of ministry. Most likely, this woman would have never interacted with the disciples or Jesus on her own accord - so Jesus had to go to her. People need and want to be initiated with, especially if they have any preconceived ideas about the Church.
Host Community Events
Initiating a barbeque or picnic for a local neighborhood is a great way to bring people in. Because it does not require people to travel and is highly relational, most people will want to join in. This is a great way to engage volunteers in your church or ministry already.
Actually Use Social Media
Instead of just posting content, post things that actually engage people and illicit responses. Reply, like, and repost things that are relevant. Many people are using social media each day, some for a majority of their waking hours. By using technology, you can reach people where they are - their smartphones. Have your members record their testimonies and share them on social media platforms. Many people who would not normally be interested in a service or a church event would be open to hearing a friend talk about the life change they have experienced.
Start a Campaign that Serves your Community
Bring awareness to a need in your community and give people the opportunity to get involved, whether it's serving at a local food pantry or helping to beautify a local park. Not only does this engage your congregation or ministry participants, but this allows you to interact with new people who might not normally attend a service. It also provides an opportunity for your attendees to bring their friends and connect them to you. This is a great way to serve your community to build bridges and reflect Christ well.
Go to a local elementary, middle, high school or university and see if there is a Christian club there. If not, start one. Bring volunteers from the church to seek out the persons of peace on that campus and begin bringing food to surface others. If something already does exist, ask how you can come alongside them to serve the students. There are likely Christian faculty on each of these campuses who already have a heart to see their school transformed. These are great people to connect with.
All of these ideas are simple to implement and both engage your current members and get to new people. The concept is to get to people who wouldn’t naturally come to you and to keep the mission at the front of your church. These are great stepping stones to becoming a church or ministry that reflects Jesus well and continues to go and make disciples.