Most churches do not strategically think about who they are inviting to church. They have service every Sunday with the hope and expectation that new people will come, but they don’t put much (if any!) thought into who they are going to invite throughout the week. Obviously, churches should be inviting everyone to join them, but who specifically should churches strategically be thinking about inviting?
- Friends and relatives who do not attend church. People should hear often about the importance of inviting their family, friends, coworkers, and other to church. Churches should make it easy for people to invite their friends and family. Their services should be consistent so that people know what they are inviting their friends to. They should have invite cards to help people break the ice with those they want to invite. They should have special events that are less intimidating to those who may not be comfortable with a church service.
- Visitors who have not returned. Churches should track their visitors, follow-up with them, and attempt to get them plugged in right away. For those visitors who do not return for a second visit, the church should follow-up.
- Visitors to big events. VBS, Easter and Christmas productions, egg hunts, and more are all great ways to connect with lots of new people. These events can be a first step in getting them to come to church and churches should always extend the invitation.
- Deactivated members. Churches should watch theback door of the church. If people are leaving, before the church writes them off completely they should make an effort to reach out. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to get someone to come back.
- Others that meet in the building. People who come out to Bible studies, ministries of the church, non-church ministries, or even community groups that use the churches facilities are excellent candidates to invite to a church service.
- Contacts from funerals and other ministry. Pastors will find themselves doing funerals and other ministry to non-church members. Pastors should follow-up in attempts to reach out to those they minister to outside of the church.
- People in transition. Churches should get a list of people moving into the community and reach out to them. These days this can even be automated as there are organizations that will send invite cards to every new mover within an area for a very nominal cost. Others, such as those who are going through a divorce or grieving the loss of a loved one, are great candidates to reach out to. Many churches have found great success in reaching people through ministries such as DivorceCare and GriefShare.
- People in need. People often respond to an invitation to something deeper after they have had a tangible need met. Giving away meals at Thanksgiving or toys at Christmas doesn’t address a person’s spiritual need, but it may be all they need to open the door to coming to church and something greater.
Certainly this list is just a few of the people that churches should be inviting? Who else do you think churches should invite to come?