Relationships are key. A relationship with Christ is what we need to strive for on a daily basis. The Bible is a relationship story about a God who loves us and wants a personal relationship with us. As Christians, we all want that relationship.
Small groups is another church relationship builder that helps people grow in their faith and experience genuine relationships with other believers.
The gospel is meant to be shared through relationships. Otherwise, evangelism would be as simple as posting Scripture on billboards across the world. The greatest tool to reach nonbelievers is genuine, authentic relationships.
Is your church, like a lot of other churches, struggling with getting members to invite guests? Between the workplace and children’s activities, families are busier and it seems harder to get people’s attention. Yet without guests, your church will not grow. In fact, it will decline!
You need to at least be gaining enough new members to replace people that leave, move or pass on. (For a free spreadsheet that will help you examine your numbers, go to ACRStrategies.com/church and click “Free Resources.”)
So, knowing that relationships is the key, how do you grow? Every church has something it does extremely well. For some, it’s Bible classes. For others, it may be music, youth group, sports, small groups, sermons, etc. What part of your church is your “relationships builder”? The area that people seem to talk about and join?
Once you find your relationships builder,” then what? You have found at least one are—maybe more than one—that is your key relationship area(s). Now it is time to find people in your community who will respond to this area and develop relationships with them.
Of course, the best way to develop relationships with your community is through your members. But, how do you reach people who are not currently connected to your members and build relationships with them?
It used to be that we knew our neighbors, and as a community we had more face-to-face conversations with people in our community. Today, a lot of that takes place in the non-face-to-face environment called social media.
People still want to connect and have conversations—they just do a lot of it online. Facebook, LinkedIn and others allow people to create groups and invite people who have similar interests. If you have an interest in something ,there are hundreds of groups that you can join.
Matching your “relationship builder” to community interest is key. Do people in your community even know about your relationship builders? If you think about it, how would they know unless someone tells them?
Let’s examine how this would take place. Let’s say you have determined your best “relationship builder” is your worship band. Let’s find a social media audience and connect.
Step 1: Examine Facebook and LinkedIn for groups that have an interest in Christian music.
Join the groups, join conversations, contribute value and develop relationships. (And the icing on the cake: This doesn’t cost anything!)
Step 2: Define your target audience.
Within Facebook, you can define your target audience as people who like Christian music or, even more narrowly, people who like or have an interest in contemporary Christian music. (The cost for this can be as low as $5 a day. You determine how much you want to spend and for how long.)
Step 3: Post interesting stuff about your worship band.
Post a video so that people can hear and see how good they are. Include a link to your church website to hear more songs from the band. (Note: Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer what is called “pay per click” advertising. This means you only pay for your advertising if someone clicks and goes to your website.)
Or perhaps your church’s best relationship builder is your pastor’s sermons. Let’s say your pastor is doing a sermon series on Nehemiah and leadership. You could go into both Facebook and LinkedIn and develop a target audience of people who have the title of Manager, Director, C-Suite, etc. Then, post information, ask questions and have the person click to your website for the answer.
Of course, right on your website should be information about your pastor’s leadership sermons and an invite for this upcoming Sunday.
When the leadership sermon series is over, you can still target “leaders” and have them click to the past sermon series on your website.
The key is defining your audience and putting content in front of them that they value. The goal is moving potential visitors into “relationships.” This is not a new concept, but in today’s online society the answer may lie in growing relationships in a different manner.
Our team at ACR Strategies hopes you found this information valuable. If you have any questions, please contact us and we would be more than happy to assist you.
Don Koehler is the founder and chief strategist of ACR Strategies, a research consulting agency that works with churches and small business.