The size of a church’s budget shouldn’t determine how well they’re able to grow their church. That’s why affordable marketing techniques are great ways for smaller churches to grow without massive budgets.
It all comes down to finding innovative, yet affordable ways to invite people to church. Yes, simply asking people or handing out invitation cards works, but there are plenty of other ways too.
Using multiple invitation methods gives you a chance to reach far more people. Plus, your members will enjoy the process even more.
1. Draw On Sidewalks
If your church has sidewalks around it and leading to it, use sidewalk chalk to invite people to your church. The only cost is the chalk. You may need to get permission from the city, but most won’t have a problem with temporary sidewalk art.
Ask for volunteers who love to draw or even let the kids in your church family draw creative pictures leading up to your church. It’s a great way to grab attention, get your members involved and make people curious about your church.
2. Host Fun Virtual Events
Thanks to COVID-19, churches had to rethink how they worship. This lead to more virtual church services. While people are coming back to in-person services, others have really enjoyed the convenience and safety of worshiping at home. In fact, some churches had record attendance with online services.
With that in mind, use the tools you already have in place for livestreaming and host fun virtual events. Since you already have the equipment, this becomes an affordable marketing strategy.
Invite the entire community, including any online followers, to join in for trivia nights, comedy sketches, musical events, Bible studies, and more. Since it’s virtual, more people are likely to attend. There’s no pressure and if they’re not enjoying themselves, they can quietly leave.
However, an invite like this is simple, yet welcoming. It gives new people a chance to check out your church outside of services. Hosting successful virtual events has the power to lead to both in-church and online growth.
3. Clean Up The Community
One of the easiest and most affordable ways to invite people to church is by sprucing up the community. Sometimes, people don’t really realize the impact church has on the local community.
However, getting out of the church and into the community itself helps you introduce yourself, show that the church makes a major impact in people’s lives and that you’re happy to lend a hand when needed. This shows the community the spirit of your church.
Encourage non-members to sign up to volunteer with you as you clean up areas, paint, plant flowers and trees and more. By working together, conversations about church crop up naturally. This leads to more people showing up on Sundays to worship with their new friends.
4. Create A Series Of Funny Memes
Memes are the one thing that brings everyone together online. Whether you love or hate them, you’ve seen them, talked about them and maybe even shared them. What many churches don’t realize is memes are the perfect way to invite people to church.
Memes are a way of sharing cultural ideas and trends, which is why millennials love them. In fact, most generations enjoy them. If you’re looking for a way to reach a wide audience, a funny meme is the way to do it.
You’ll need to get creative, but play off popular memes to create funny Christian versions. Share these on social media along with an invite to your church services and people will share the invitation.
Not sure what to share or create? Use Church Leader’s great list to inspire you.
5. Create A Shareable Invite On Your Website
Obviously, word of mouth is the most affordable marketing. Your members invite others. But, sometimes, they’re not sure what to say or how to answer questions. Take a more innovative strategy by creating a shareable invite on your site.
You can even place a QR code on your church’s invite cards that sends anyone interested directly to your invite page. A few things to include on this page are:
- Service times
- What to expect when you arrive
- A welcome video from the pastor
- Links to past sermons
- Type of music
- Links to volunteer opportunities and programs
- Links to ministry programs
Providing all of these details on a single page, even if they already exist on other pages of your site, makes it easy for people to get a quick overview of your church. In fact, you can even make this a part of your welcome page for any new visitors.
Your members can share this page on social media or via email and text. It’s simple, easy and affordable.
6. Host Movie Nights
This one can be tricky, yet incredibly effective. The main problem is making sure you have the right license to show the movie. It’s a common misconception that a nonprofit can show any movie they want legally. You will need to obtain a license, typically a CVLI or church video license. Church Leaders covers the details more in-depth.
Once you’ve gotten the legalities out of the way, movie nights are a perfect way to bring your community together. Someone might bring a few friends that start socializing with your church members. Suddenly, movie night turns into those friends attending a few services and becoming members themselves.
To make sure you’re picking the right movies, ask your members for suggestions and let them vote on the top 3-5 picks. This ensures you’re choosing movies people actually want to see.
7. Hold A Block Party
If you don’t want to deal with licensing or trying to set up a projector to show the movie, hold a block party instead. In fact, this can be a more affordable marketing strategy. It’s also a highly effective way to invite people to church.
Since the community and your members are mingling, they’re going to talk about church. You can also have details on site to give any attendees, such as pamphlets, invite cards or small items with your church’s name on it, like a pencil or notepad.
It’s usually easier to host the block party around your church, but if you don’t have room, get a permit to hold the party at your local park or community center.
8. Start Virtual Clubs
Let’s go back to virtual options. Since virtual is more convenient and less pressure than in-person, start virtual clubs. These can all have a Christian element, but make them open to anyone. Ask for volunteers to run the clubs based on their interests.
For example, you might have a book club where people read and discuss Christian books. You could have one for music, crafting, hiking or anything else your members are into.
Have virtual sessions once a week or even create Facebook groups for everyone to socialize. While they’re sponsored by your church, they’re open to non-members too. However, once a week, invite people to join your church in person or online.
9. Hold Talent Shows
Everyone loves talent shows, whether they’re participating or watching. It’s a great way to bring people together. You can even livestream the show if participants are okay with that. Or, invite some of your online followers to join in, allowing your members to watch them live on a large screen in the church.
The rules are pretty simple. As long as the talent fits with your church’s values, it’s okay. Obviously, you wouldn’t want a singer singing something with foul language or suggestive content. You can have someone approve talents to ensure nothing goes wrong.
10. Create A “Why I Go To Church” Video Series
Often, people don’t go to church because they’re not sure what they’ll get out of it. With busy lives and hectic schedules, they need a reason to invest their time. Obviously, a stronger relationship with God should be enough, but people may not understand how church actually helps with that.
An affordable marketing tool and church invitation strategy is a video series explaining just that. Ask any members, in church and online, if they’d be willing to film a video about their church story.
Their story would talk about why they started coming to church, how it’s affected their life and why they continue going. Hearing from someone who actually attends church is similar to reading a glowing review about a product. People are more likely to trust the average person versus the brand.
At the end of each video, have the person invite viewers to join your church in person or online.
11. Consider Themed Mid-Week Services
Traditional sermons don’t always connect with people the way you might want. This is especially true with younger generations, like millennials. They want a sermon that’s more relevant to what they’re going through on a daily basis.
Consider having themed mid-week services that are more informal. These focus on current events and common issues people are facing right now. By having a theme in advance, people are more likely to attend any that apply to them.
It’s also a way for people to see if your church really understand them and their needs.
12. Teach People
Brands, including nonprofits, have found that giving people something useful is one of the most effective ways to create brand loyalty. Since this is focused on affordable marketing, you’re not going to give away anything expensive.
Instead, you’re going to offer something people need – knowledge. Teach classes in person or online around things people can use, such as finances, GED training, school tutoring, handling common household repairs, starting a website, writing a resume, etc. You can even do something similar to what Goodwill does for job training.
These can be short 30 minute classes. You can even record them and place them online for people who can’t attend live. Of course, having your church sponsor them keeps your church in mind for anyone who attends.
13. Create Shareable Social Media Invites
Much like with your church website, invite people to your church with pre-made social media invites. Create a sticky post on your church’s Facebook page, which stays at the top of your page at all times, with a shareable invite or a folder with multiple shareable invites for people to use.
Get creative and have fun with your messaging. Use a meme or an inspiring quote. Of course, have a link to your church’s website and new visitor page.
14. Get Creative With Your Church Signs
For some churches, they grew their church mainly by using creating church signs. People loved the messages so much, they took pictures and those pictures went viral.
Don’t underestimate the power of the little sign outside of your church. If you get into a habit of putting out a new creative message each week or month, people will take notice. They’ll also realize your church has a lot of personality, making them want to check you out.
If you need inspiration, just check out the following:
- The 14 Funniest Church Signs You’ve Ever Seen
- 50 Genius Church Signs That Will Make You Laugh And Think
- 32 Best Short Church Sign Sayings
Of course, don’t forget you don’t have to come up with everything on your own. Get your members involved. Ask them to submit ideas and post a thank to the winner each week on your church website and on social media. Winners will definitely share the post, thus inviting people to your church.
15. Have Fun With Road Signs
Usually, you see little signs along the road for political candidates or yard sales. However, your church can have a lot more fun. Much like with your church sign, create a series of messages leading to your church. This can work much like the sidewalk method at the beginning of this post.
You can have members actually draw the signs or have some printed. The second option does cost more, but may weather better. Consider putting them out a few days before services. For best results, change the signs at least monthly for a new message to attract more people.
Your church website is still one of the best ways to invite people to church online. It’s a tool that keeps marketing your church, even when you’re asleep. Don’t have one yet? Contact us today to get your church online.