What kind of special committees or councils does your ministry have and how do you use them to impact ministry or outreach?
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church is a small congregation in a small southern town, Hartselle, Alabama. We are blessed with being a sort of bedroom community adjacent to Huntsville, AL that is rich with federal government companies and technologies industries, including NASA. Our Outreach ministry is strong , especially for a small congregation. We have found that such projects as Teddy Bears for displaced children and families, funding some school STEM teachers or librarians for back to school supplies, sponsoring a family in need at Christmas and passing out a pamphlet at local car shows has been a great way to get our name out there. We also have a walking path adjacent to our church and host a Trail of Treats for halloween and an annual fall market has made many people aware of our presence.
We are looking to maximize our footprint in these areas. We are curious about just straightforward advertising by local media. Does anyone have experiences along these lines to offer for consideration. We believe with a number of transplants in our area some have Lutheran backgrounds and are an untapped group. Any ideas about this goal would be welcomed. God Bless, David Childers
In a nutshell...
It sounds like your doing a lot of good things already. Being attached to, and engaged in, the community is crucial. A pastor's blog can be helpful, but find venues to get that into the hands of people in print too. The local paper, shopper, or wherever print can be found. Do everything you can to ensure your churches name is clearly attached to everything you do, along with a consistent invitation. Look for every place God's Word can be attached, even in the smallest way. Build a reputation of being: available, inviting and welcoming. Find where people gather (coffee shop, book store, library, grain elevator, restaurant, etc). Sit there and listen to the kinds of concerns and conversations they are having. Then start a small Bible study there (even just 2 people). Start answering the questions among yourselves. If you are answering the right questions people will eaves drop. (That's a good thing.)
As you start to glean those "spiritual" questions explore how to answer them. Remembering American culture today is not asking *what* you believe. (Though you should know well what you believe.) The question American is asking first is: *Why* do you believe it? Once you've answered the 'why' question they'll start to listen to the 'what' answers.
A youth program that reaches into the community is another excellent tool. Have 3 major events each year: Beginning of school, End of school, and VBS. Use those events to invite youth to attend a weekly gathering which will include: A Bible lesson, some food, and some fun time. Pack it all into about 2 hours. My experience has seen success on Wednesday after-school or Sunday late afternoon. If the children enjoy the church the parents will follow. When they come understand it might be the first time they've ever walked into a church building. Be available, inviting and welcoming. And patient! Expect the world to act like the world. Don't be surprised at how little they know. Just love them as they are, where they are. Shepherd them gently.
I have never found advertising to be effective. American culture will not visit your church because of a billboard or small unchanging blip in the paper. They are looking for answers. Start answering questions. Let word of mouth spread the news. That will be followed by spreading the Good News.
Have your pastor start the process of working his messages to answering American culture's questions. Make sure people can read/watch/listen online. They'll visit your website long before they'll walk in the door. If he's willing print those sermons. Make them look good. Add a picture or two or more. Tell people to share them. Pass them around.
Ensure in all you do, you are always inviting people to the church. Doing good for the sake of good is good. Doing good to connect with people is better. Doing good to tell the Good News is best. As you build relationships you build bridges to share the truths of God's Word and God's love. Until you build those bridges they will not hear anything you say.
…in a nutshell.
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