Marketing Your Church for Christmas?
9 Steps to Ensure Success with your Christmas Marketing.
For a church not to maximize its outreach efforts on Christmas would be like Budweiser not marketing on Super Bowl Sunday.
It would be absurd! More people are watching TV on that day than any other. Advertisers know it, and gladly spend millions for a few seconds of air time. You have a similar opportunity on Christmas. It makes sense to maximize it.
Here’s a stunning fact:
On Christmas, overall church attendance increases approximately 45 percent, according to Jim Davidson, professor of philosophy and religion at Purdue University.
Christmas is one of the most significant days in the life of the church. More people will walk through the doors of your church on that day than any other day of the year. So why not use every tool you have in the shed to reach them?
The Ace in the Hole.
Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday only every seven to ten years or so. This year, more than ever you have a golden opportunity. There are a great many “Chreasters” who usually forgo the traditional Christmas day church due to “family time.” With Christmas Eve being on a Sunday this year this can become your go to service to capture these visitors. Don’t rule out the importance Christmas Eve will play this year. You may want to increase your services this year on Christmas Eve.
But where do you begin?
Now you may be thinking, do we really want those “Chreasters” in our congregation? My answer is simple and blunt: You should want EVERYONE to visit your church. If you’re not marketing, evangelizing, outreaching, and using every means you can to fulfill the Great Commission, why call yourself a church?
The Main Stream Media is on Your Side:
Unlike Easter, Christmas has a countdown. After Halloween a person can’t browse the internet or step into a department store and not get bombarded with the Christmas message. It is virtually everywhere. Why, because they know they have a once a year opportunity to capitalize on this day everyone in America looks forward to.
A Major Pitfall to Watch For:
You may have bought into the idea that your church is insignificant and people will only visit the Mega Churches. We’re not the megachurch down the street, you say. Let me be blunt again—this is a lie from Satan! The Holy Spirit is working on the hearts of people in your community, and they’re ready to visit your church this Christmas. They just need an invitation.
Planning for Christmas should have a twofold objective:
1. To get people through the door to hear the message of Christ.
2. To make them feel so welcome, loved, and appreciated that they have no choice but to come back for more.
So, here are the nine steps to get you there:
1. Know Your Guests. Churches vary in their worship styles, doctrines, and demographic makeup. Remember that many of the people in your church on Christmas Eve will be first-time guests, or even first-time church-goers. They may not be familiar with church culture. Knowing this, if you present your message in a non-churchy way, you’ll be able to reach them and make a difference for the Kingdom. Avoid sermons that would require a master’s degree in theology to understand. Keep it simple, and down-to-earth: We’re all sinners, but through Christ, we can be forgiven and set free to live better lives—forever!
Your existing congregation will be back next week, but you only have a small window to reach these newcomers. Begin praying about your sermon now. Ask the Lord what He wants to say to the unchurched in your community this Christmas.
2. Be Creative. Super Bowl Sunday is famous for having the most creative commercials on television. Advertisers know that more people are watching than any other time, so they go all-out.
Similarly, more guests will be attending Church on Christmas than any other day, so… do something they’ll remember!
Be realistic. You don’t have to entertain, but you should find ways to creatively love the people who walk through your doors. Get your community talking about church again.
3. Advertise Your Event. My kids are still talking about the commercials from the Super Bowl last year. In thirty seconds their minds were branded with a company name and product. That company was in the right place at the right time. Christmas is one of those times. Seize the opportunity to bring people in. Let them hear the Truth and be transformed. Invite your community to your Christmas service.
4. Welcome your Guests. You get ONE chance to make a first impression. From the parking lot, through the front doors, to their seats and your sermon—cater to each person as a personal guest of Jesus Christ. Meet ahead of time with your staff and servant-leaders to prepare them. Vision-cast your plans for the day’s events, and make absolutely certain that your new guests feel welcome.
5. Get your ministries up to date. Many of your Christmas guests are coming to God’s house for the very first time. Now is also the time to get your ministries up-to-date. Prepare your congregation to welcome newcomers. If you don’t have a parking ministry and greeter team, ask for volunteers now and organize these for your service. According to research, people will form their first impressions of your church in about seven to ten seconds—long before they hear the pastor or the music!
You have an obligation to welcome guests into God’s house with the love and warmth that He has shown you. This may seem elementary, but I cannot tell you how many unchurched people have said to me, “We have visited so many churches in the area, and yours is the only church that made us feel welcome.” Parking, greeting, and usher teams are paramount. They set the stage for everything else, including your sermon.
6. Follow up with Guests. By following up diligently with your guests, you show them that you truly care about their needs. Love them by showing that you remember their presence and want them to come back.
To do this, you need to capture pertinent information about each first-time guest and then perform some form of follow-up. An easy way to do this is with a First-Time Guest Card, which you can give to each guest as he or she enters your church. It includes space for guests to record their personal information, prayer requests, and how they heard of the church. Ask your guests to fill it out, and have your ushers collect it.
7. Give a Gift. Don’t ask your first-time guests for anything, especially at offering time. Let them know that their mere presence is their gift to you. A practical way to express this is to give them a welcome gift, and what a better day than Christmas. Have your ushers collect the First-Time Guests Cards from guests, and give them their gifts at the same time. This not only provides you with an accurate count of how many first time guests you have, but shows them that you care about welcoming them.
When we come to Christ, He doesn’t ask for anything more than our hearts. Make sure your guests know that you’re after them because you love them, not for what you can get out of them. It’s human nature to reciprocate upon receiving a gift. Your guests may give back to you by choosing to return next Sunday.
8. Leave Them Crying Out for More. If you offered each guest $100 to return the next week, many of them would. The choice is always an issue of value in the minds of your guests: Is what that church offers worth the investment of my time?
Likewise, if you said, “Come to my church, and I can make your marriage the best it has ever been, your kids will never do drugs, and your sex life will improve,” many people would come.
We know that your church cannot give out hundred dollar bills, or solve all of your guests’ marriage problems in one sermon series. However, in Christ you have the answers to life’s deepest questions. It’s your job to entice them with glimpses of biblical wisdom and truth that address their needs and encourage them to return for more.
9. Begin or Announce a New Message for the New Year. One of the hardest obstacles to church growth is to overcome the “Chreaster” phase. This is when you get a huge bump in attendance on Christmas and Easter only to lose those attendance numbers after these two holidays.
New Year’s is when people make life-changing commitments—to lose weight, save money, be better husbands and better parents. People are seeking change more than ever during the New Year. You can seize on this desire for change, and bring them what they truly yearn for—the life-transforming power of the gospel. Create anticipation in your visitors that there is something valuable for them if they return.
In a Gallup Panel survey, researchers asked 562 adults about their usual church-attending behavior and followed up with an open-ended question, asking them to explain their attendance in their own words. The majority responded, “For growth and guidance.” They believe that the church has something valuable to offer. On the flip-side, when 439 adults were asked the reason for their lack of attendance the majority answered, “Lack of belief in religion and lack of time.”
The first group is seeking answers to their deepest needs; they’re looking for value. Your church can be a place that leads them to satisfaction in the areas of life they value most. The second group doesn’t recognize church or religion as offering them anything of worth. They don’t invest their time in it because they don’t see its value. Your job is to show them that you’re offering more than just a social gathering or a religion; it’s a path to truth, a place to get answers, a place to heal relationships, and so much more!
You offer a relationship with Christ, the one thing that can give them the true desires of their hearts and satisfy them to their core. When people catch a glimpse of Christ, they can’t help but come looking for more. Show them Christ. Show them the one thing that will satisfy the very depths of their beings and always cause them to cry out for more. Make your Easter message—and the ones that follow—valuable in the eyes of your guests.
Start Planning NOW and plan meticulously, and execute your plan with excellence. Do this by knowing your guests, getting creative, and advertising your event. Through even the simplest actions, like greeting and giving them gifts, show them that you’re offering what they are searching for. You have a captive audience. Seize the opportunity to do something great in the life of your community.If you choose to advertise your Christmas service, do it with excellence.
Don’t trust your advertising for this special day to just anyone. Call one of our church consultants today at 1-844 TRUTHAD. We will build a postcard mailing program for you that is as unique as your church. You will work with an experienced church marketing consultant every step of the way. We will design a custom program, especially for your church, managing every detail to ensure maximum effectiveness. We have hundreds of Christmas sample postcard marketing ideas online, AND MORE BEING POSTED EVERYDAY.
Have your own design team? A lot of our clients do. Truth Advertising can still handle the print and mail house work for your church saving you time, money, and headaches.
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