7 Creative Ways to Reach and Engage People in the New Era

2021 marked a pivotal year of change for churches, church leaders, and the way we interact with each other in the digital world.

This article is a sponsored post written by Vince Scalia, director of sales & marketing at Gloo. A new kind of local outreach platform, Gloo reaches people in your community who need prayer, have questions about Jesus, or need help, and connects them to your church.

A church’s mission is to bring people together for the world—but how do you get them in the door?

2021 marked a pivotal year of change for churches, church leaders, and the way we interact with each other in the digital world.

While there were significant challenges, there was also hope— like a surge in the number of first-time donors to churches supporting cooperative outreach campaigns. And churches continued to adopt digital tools and platforms coming off a year when in-person attendance was dormant.

Leaders showed up to help each other with curiosity and creativity, overcoming unprecedented challenges and delivering on community promise.

Crowdsourced from some of the brightest and most influential minds and organizations in Christian leadership, here are seven ways to attract and engage people in 2022.

No. 1: Persevere in the face of division. 

In his tip, Ed Stetzer sets the tone for all that we do: “How are we to be a loving and bold witness in a world marked by outrage and division?”

The division and distrust in our day are unlike anything most of us have ever seen in our lifetimes. So, how do we share the unique claims of our faith in Jesus Christ in a world so filled with outrage?

According to Ed, we choose to show and share the good news as kingdom ambassadors. It’s hard to be disgusted with people and witness to them at the same time. But God calls us to love God first and to love others as Christ loved us. This means we will have to exchange suspicion with empathy, seeking to understand first and apply the gospel to where (and how) they live.

No. 2: Create dynamic goals to successfully grow your church. 

Whenever we ask pastors how many new volunteers they need, how much they need to raise for ministry, or how many new guests they want to reach, the answer is usually the same—more.

Michael Lukaszewski of Church Fuel says you can use S.M.A.R.T goals to achieve this ever-moving target. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals.

By creating incremental goals for your organization, you can both measure and maintain steady growth. And once you set a dynamic goal, you can get creative with your solutions.

Change is inevitable. Irrelevance isn’t.

But the reality is that far too many churches aren’t changing quickly enough.

From Outreach Magazine  How Pressure Builds Leaders

That’s why I’m hosting the Church Disruption Summit. It’s a free value-packed event where we’ll dissect the 7 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Define the Church of 2032 and get equipped with a framework to lead change.

No. 3: Equip your church to have spiritual conversations with non-religious people. 

From Steiger International, we get a breakdown of the ways we can successfully have these faith-based conversations with people who are not religious. By opening ourselves up to these conversations, we can build trust with people who otherwise may not have turned to the church.

The fastest-growing “religious group” in America is the religiously unaffiliated. While many are suspicious of religion, they’re open to having spiritual conversations. This is an incredible opportunity to engage people who wouldn’t walk into a church.

Some of Steiger International’s recommendations include:

Don’t rush the conversation. Be patient, yet ready to give answers. Ask the Holy Spirit for opportunities to share the Christian perspective using simple, non-religious language.

Don’t try to recreate a church atmosphere. When having spiritual conversations with non-believers or skeptics, most Christians want to recreate the feel of a Bible study or church service. Approach these conversations more like a free-wheeling philosophical conversation over drinks or coffee to have more success.

No. 4: Make connections organic, not forced. 

This tip from Christianity Today, explores what needs to happen once we get people to church to ensure they keep coming back.

The average church worship gathering sees two kinds of guests: Those with a church background and those with little-to-none. How we engage each type of guest can determine not only whether they will return, but also whether they will judge us as genuinely interested in them.

For example, churches shouldn’t take visitors, or their bravery in attending, for granted. Starting purposeful conversation from scratch is a challenge for many people. It isn’t innate; it must be taught. Repeat this mantra in the bulletin, in Bible studies, and from the pulpit: “Be sure to welcome guests.”

Additionally, you’ll need to implement a strategic follow-up plan. When connecting with guests after a service, intentionality is more impactful than intensity. Try a combination of cards, text messages, emails, and phone calls. Experiment to discover what works best for each type of guest.

No. 5: Expand your reach by building relationships. 

The Global Leadership Network is all about relationships, so it’s no surprise that they focus on this for their tip.

Leaders everywhere desire to expand their reach to engage more people with their mission—whether in the context of a church or a business—so this is something to which leaders everywhere can relate. However, one mistake leaders often make is becoming so inward-focused on “our cause” that they miss out on what matters most to the very people they’re trying to reach and serve.

From Outreach Magazine  Going Beyond Charity to Address Systemic Injustice

To introduce people to Jesus, we need to remember that he, first and foremost, cared about people and being in a relationship with them—not about building the numbers of a congregation.

Reach doesn’t grow well when it is inward-focused with communication that is all or mostly directed one way. In fact, one of the best ways to build your reach is to engage with people. Reach grows when connection is made, when communication is two-way, and when the very people you are trying to reach and serve feel heard and valued.

No. 6: Supercharge your online outreach with the best tools for the job. 

People in your community have prayer requests and questions about Jesus. But when these people don’t normally go to church, how do you reach them? In 2022, churches must focus on attracting and engaging local people that don’t normally go to church with digital outreach campaigns

Enter the new Gloo: A digital outreach platform designed for churches to attract and engage people in their community. Gloo makes online outreach easy, equipping churches with the tools they need to do the job well.

With Gloo, churches can improve their reach and connect with new people directly in the app, allowing them to grow their outreach and ministry.

No. 7: Build influence through your owned digital space.

In Carey Nieuwhof’s recommendation, he focuses on the strategic differences between owned digital space and rented digital space. This, for example, is an owned digital space, since this blog is being hosted on Carey’s website. This allows Carey to fully control my content and provide the message he feels called to provide to his audience.

Compare that to “rented” spaces (like third-party platforms, social media, etc), where you’re at the mercy of algorithms and audience shifts.

Use rented space to direct your audience to channels and platforms that you own (website, apps, email list, text list, etc). Over the long run, you’ll build far more greater influence and see increased engagement through spaces you own than spaces you rent.

This is just a sample of the content of Gloo’s newest ebook, 7 Easy Ways to Attract & Engage People in 2022. Our friends at Gloo brought compiled this unique collection of tips and tricks for you to peruse as you consider your strategy this year and beyond. 

Download the full ebook for free here.

Read more from Carey Nieuwhof »

This article originally appeared on CareyNieuwhof.com and is reposted here by permission.