16 (Nearly Free) Ways to Increase Community Awareness of Your Church

Family Fun Events

We know that your church is built on the back of great children’s ministry. In fact, some of your most creative leaders are currently working with the families in your church.

Why not invite some of them to think beyond their Sunday morning routines about how they could develop events that folks in the community would enjoy?

Events such as these are not only a win for your church’s families (because they’ll enjoy coming to them) but they’re also a win for their friends (because family events make for easy invitations). Here are a few family fun events that you could try at your church:

  • Movies in the park // Chances are you have a projector and a large screen. Why not set them up at a local park this coming summer and invite the community for a movie night? Pop some popcorn to give away for free and it’s bound to be a hit. Record a quick “trailer” about the church as a bonus to get people’s attention and spread awareness.
  • Touch-a-truck event // There are probably people in your church who drive huge transport trucks or maybe even firetrucks. A fun event for kids is to have a parking lot full of these vehicles and give the kids a chance to get up close and explore them. Events like this can be a great “back-to-school” event on the weekend before classes start up!
  • Summer kickoff // We all love to celebrate the beginning of summer. Why not use some of your resources and rent a bounce house (or maybe even a dunk tank for the pastor) and cause a bit of chaos out on the front lawn as you head into next summer?

Serve Community Servants

You have police officers, first responders, firefighters and many other community servants within your neighborhood. Going out of your way to find an opportunity to care for and love these people is a great way to build awareness while showing God’s love to others. Here are a few examples of ways you can serve your community servants:

  • Meals for first responders on Christmas Eve // What if you sent your people out with meals for the first responders in your community on Christmas Eve this year? Have them packed up and ready to deliver following the evening service.
  • Prayer services // Some churches will host a special service every year where they invite police, fire and ambulance teams to the church for prayer. What a great way to connect with the community figures that serve you!
  • Adopt-a-school // What if you approached a school and asked them how you could help, no strings attached? Offer to come and clean the school or grounds before kids come back in the fall, host a free meal for the teachers, or provide backpacks and running shoes for kids who don’t have any. Your community will love this sort of help and word will spread about your church!

Inform the Local Press

The local press is always looking for great stories, especially stories related to community events. Reach out to your local newspapers, radio stations, news teams and bloggers about what’s happening at your church. Getting your church into a regular practice of sending out press releases or community event postings when anything special happens is a great way to build awareness of your church. While you won’t get coverage every time you do something, you might be surprised to find consistent coverage once you’ve released a few press pieces on a website or two. Get used to writing a 400-word press release and sending it out. Don’t go overboard though—start by sending out your information quarterly. Here are some examples of things you can do to inform the press about what‘s happening at your church:

  • Christmas events // In the first week of December, the local press is looking to report on what’s happening in town on and around Christmas. Make sure your church gets on that list.
  • Special speakers // Make sure to tell the press about any expert, out-of-town speakers you have visiting and speaking at your services. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve seen churches get great coverage because of guest speakers!
  • Special events // Report anything that’s out of the ordinary or new at your church to the press as an opportunity for people to come to your special events.

Building the community’s awareness of your church is the beginning of any church growth or evangelism process. If people in your community don’t know your church exists, they won’t take the steps toward plugging in and becoming part of it. I’d love to hear your ideas about how you’ve been able to build awareness in your community.

This article originally appeared here.

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Rich Birch
Rich serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. He blogs at UnSeminary.com and is a sought after speaker and consultant on multisite, pastoral productivity and communications.