Q: We are a small church and don’t have a large amount of money to spend on advertising. Another denominational church in town spends thousands each year on advertising, and needless to say, they have grown rapidly. It grieves my heart to see so many going there every Sunday when we have the truth and no one hardly knows we exist. My question is this: what is the most effective evangelism method that a small church can use to obtain maximum growth on a limited budget? Do you have to spend thousands on advertising to grow?
The most effective way to reach your community is not by spending thousands on advertising. Advertising will increase your name recognition and community awareness profile, but real growth comes only from reaching your church’s oikos (family, friends and acquaintances) with the Gospel. In most churches 90% of all visitors attend because of the invitation of a church member.
There are two important statistics to keep in mind. First, research shows that over 90% of all who receive the Holy Ghost do so within a church service of some kind. Secondly, almost 93% of those who have received the Spirit have done so after attending church three or more times. The bottom line is this: to grow you must increase the number of oikos visitors that attend your church and secondly, they must come more than once.
There is no single evangelism method that effectively accomplishes both requirements. What has proven effective in bringing oikos visitors are events such as revivals, special services, church socials, attendance promotions and similar activities. What has proven most effective in encouraging those visitors to return is a full-featured visitor follow-up ministry. In my opinion, a good follow-up program is the most important evangelism ministry a church can have because if your visitors don’t return very few will ever receive the Holy Ghost.
But let me conclude by saying that no organized program can substitute for power-packed, Spirit-filled services. Such services will not only attract visitors but will keep them coming back until God can convict their heart.