Outreach Initiative Blog – Pastor Doug Kallesen
Welcome aboard to our first outreach blog. This is intended to be a way of sharing outreach ideas, stories and resources with you each month. I hope you will enjoy it, share and apply it. I would love to hear from you…I am sure many of you have something to contribute as well!
With Advent, Christmas and Easter right around the corner I want to share something that I pray will bless your ministry during these seasons of peak attendance. I want to talk about, “How to Create a Culture of Outreach in your Church.” You might recall this is one of our 3 C’s of the Outreach Initiative- Culture / Connect / Community found at www.lhm.org/outreachinitiative.
So how do you create an outreach culture? Five biggies-
- View all of your ministry through the lens of being a guest. If you are wanting to attract and keep more guests then you need to see ministry as they see your ministry. This includes everything from advertising, signage, phone messages, worship, the sermon, announcements the whole enchilada.
- The power of first impressions is real and helps create interest in finding out more about your ministry. The same is true if there is a negative impression. I believe this happens from the moment your guest turns into your property. Is there curb appeal, a WOW factor?
- Worship that inspires and brings worshipers into the presence of God. This is not about liturgical or contemporary but about worship that is done well and is done in the worship language of those attending. Liturgical worship is taken from scripture and the same is true of many contemporary songs. Worship language is the form of worship that best fits the people attending and those your ministry is trying to reach. Do your homework on this and don’t assume you know the answer-music is a powerful media. The music message may rival the sermon’s impact for some people.
The sermon must speak with impact and relevance to the world we live in today! Millenials want to hear a message that relates to the here and now, not just the then and the there. They want to know how this applies to them – NOW! The truth is our culture is crying out for a relationship with God it’s religion they are not sure about. Jesus taught and spoke to the crowds a lot using stories and parables perhaps we could learn from the Master.
- Ministry Handles – You might also call it, “sticky ministry,” churches that attract and keep visitors have developed systems and ways that give first time guests a reason to come back, a reason to that helps them stick! It may be a class or an event or something that they see the first time that says, ‘I want to be here for that.” Some churches are so sticky they give first time guests something to stay for the very first time they step foot on their campus.
- Follow Through – make it personal, give your guests a take home packet of info and gift, send a handwritten note, a phone call or even a drop by with a guest packet at their home. You have six days to tell them they were at the right place last week! If you believe God sent them last Sunday stay in touch, develop that relationship intentionally!
Now read through the following story narrative and see what ideas you might pick up or add.
For me it begins at the road leading to your church – I ask what leads people to us? Do we have any or enough signs? Is our landscaping and facility attractive? Do people know where to go once they park their car? These are easy and quick fixes but like the commercial says, wait there’s more.
In one of my mission starts I remember standing outside the front door, welcoming guests and members alike often finding my way half way down the walk way. It was fun and I knew that our guests had a divine appointment to be here so I wanted to move heaven and earth to make them feel welcome. I knew once they got by me my back up team, the greeters, would take over and make every guest feel welcome, showing them where to go and even introduce them to other members. Our guests would also get a name tag because everyone wore one – we wanted to know them and we wanted them to know at least a few of us by name before they left. We had four ways to receive information about them so that we could follow up; guest book, name tag, attendance record filled out by everyone and the greeting line at the end of church. We followed up within 48 hours usually. As we grew I found that I had to enlist some of our members to make follow up visits.
Once our guests settled in we made sure that others would welcome them before church started and then again at the sharing of the peace. With uplifting music playing in the background we were ready for worship. The organist or praise team leader and I made sure that we had chosen singable hymns that tied into the season and theme of worship that day. I welcomed our guests at the beginning of our worship and told them that we knew God had sent them here today and I welcomed them again.
The message was usually tied to one of the lessons but at times was topical. Both worked, after all it’s God’s dunamis! I strived to make the message relevant, personal speaking to the here and now as well as the then and the there. I wanted to give them at least one handle to hang on to for the week. One of our FLGA pastors pauses at the end of his message and asks the members how they did on last week’s sermon assignment or how they will apply this week’s message to their life. I recall him asking them if they prayed for their waiter or waitress at the restaurant as a witness and to tell them that God loves them. This kind of quizzing can be done in bible class or small groups also.
What are the handles you give your guests – how can they hop on to your ministry and get involved? Do your announcements, bulletin and newsletter speak to your guest? Are your guests automatically signed up to receive your newsletter? Church events can be welcoming triggers for your guests if the event is of interest to them. What is your system of follow up? You have 7 days to assure them they were at the right place last week.
Now go to www.lhm.org/outreachinitiative hit the congregation training tab on culture of outreach videos and the follow up PDF. Here you can make plans on how to implement your ideas on creating a culture of outreach in your church.
Have a blessed Christmas!
Rev. Douglas L. Kallesen
Executive Director of Outreach FLGA District
5850 TG Lee Blvd Suite 500
Orlando, FL 32822
407.857.5556. x6 office
Equip, Empower, Engage – Connecting People to Jesus