How can we make the church more relevant? Nobody is paying attention or cares about you. And attendance is dropping… Everybody has these thoughts run through their heads when we’re stuck doing the same things over and over again.
In today’s episode, we’re sharing 3 ways that you can make your church more relevant now.
With Special Co-Host: Neal Fischer
Neal is one of our founding CTA Insiders and the Director of Communications at South Carolina Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Neal loves his my wife and 2 cats, his job working for the South Carolina Synod, ELCA, and the Pittsburgh Steelers!
During our bi-weekly CTA Insider Masterminds, we keep hearing that the world is moving beyond the church. The church is still relevant, but it’s not home. It’s not the meeting place of the town.
We are in the middle of one of the biggest shifts in church communications and everything is vying for our attention. Because of this, time and attention are in high-competition. It’s tough to get people into the church even every other Sunday.
So the question needs to move from “how do we get people into the church” to “how do we get the church to people?”
What do we need to have the church move outward instead of inward and become more relevant?
Here we go!
Show Support For Your Community
Dave’s buddy, Scott, has a Facebook group called Lifestyle Frisco. The idea is a hyper-local website and community focused on the city. They write articles and stories of what’s going on in Frisco, TX. Scott interviews local business owners, people around town, and other influencers. It helps connect city-members together.
So…why can’t a church do that? Why can’t the church be the driver to introduce people in the community to others?
Jeff Henderson of Northpoint does something similar by starting #ForGwinnett. Their church works to boost the Gwinnett community. They have meetings in the donut shop, promote the local business on Instagram, and even buy donuts for Sundays.
Our churches often focus on themselves, growing and getting butts in seats. That’s fine. But there’s a lot to be said about going out and promoting others as well. Their bringing Christ outside the church walls, giving patronage to the local business, and therefore serving the town.
This effort doesn’t have to be heavily branded with its own church web page and linked branding. It just needs to be a connection point.
Your members can interview local people, have meetings at businesses, or even just serve locals in the park. And it helps to go a step further when you plug in with others on social media. Tag local businesses, use local hashtags, and show your support for the community.
Plus, when you connect locally, when others search for those businesses, your church is the one giving them what they want, creating a positive connection.
Be Proactive In Culture With Video
Dave and his Pastor are starting a video project to answer questions that are socially relevant and culturally significant.
At the time of this recording, the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting is around the corner. And one of the leaders is facing a scandal. In addition, we just got through all the garbage surrounding Bill Cosby, who was long known as America’s Dad.
Heroes have fallen. These ideas are on the front of people’s minds and Dave’s Pastor wants to speak into those that are searching for answers. The same can be true of people searching if God hates gays, why are there shootings, and other hot topics.
If we stay silent, your community will find answers elsewhere. Similar to when parents don’t talk to their kids about sex, kids will find answers from their friends or the internet.
So let’s be proactive!
Plus, videos can rank well in Google search. So your videos don’t live in just YouTube, they can also land in search listings!
Put On A Church Cooking Show
One of the biggest fundraisers in church past were church cookbooks. If you’re unfamiliar, these were recipe books compiled by church members and sold as a fundraiser.
Photo via Morris Press Cookbooks
So here’s a thought…why not a church cooking show?
Simply record your church members cooking their favorite recipes and post to YouTube and Facebook. Or you can do a Tasty-style video and cut it down to a quick 2 minutes.
If you’re not ready for video, you can use a digital cookbook as your connection point for web visitors. Allow your visitors to download your church member’s best recipes to use on their own. Then, after they trade their email for your cookbook, you can continue the conversation to introduce your church, its members, your leadership, and make the ask to come to church.
You could also sell it as an eBook, or use the book as a stepping stone to ask for donations to the food pantry or women’s shelter.
We encourage you to think outside the box. Maybe you can’t do a cooking show, but there are people in your town who have needs you can meet as a church. And it doesn’t have to be spiritual to start!
The church will never be completely irrelevant, we believe God won’t let that happen. But the way we do church will become outdated and easily overlooked if we don’t innovate how we serve.
So let’s try something different!
Instead of waiting for the people to come to church, take the church to the people. Instead of staying silent online, host videos to answer questions that are relevant to today. And have fun with a cooking show or other non-spiritual media to start conversations.
It all comes down to providing value for others. When you do that, you stay in your community’s attention, and that’s the first step to getting them plugged back into your church.
What have you tried to make your church more relevant in the community? Share in the comments below!