Recently a pastor asked me, “What are the top three to five things your church does to reach the unchurched?”
I immediately thought about our DREAM strategy. It has guided our church for 17 years and has allowed us to reach thousands of people for Christ. The good news is that any church can become more effective at reaching the lost in their community, and it doesn’t even involve new buildings or expensive technology.
In fact, the secret to reaching the unchurched is not even a secret. The principles are as old as the New Testament and are transferable into any church in any community or culture.
So, what are they?
3 PRACTICES FOR REACHING THE UNCHURCHED
You cannot connect with people you are not considering. Reaching the spiritually lost begins with passion. Passion drives practices. If the church leaders are passionate about reaching lost people, then it will bleed out onto every part of the church. Remember, Jesus’ passion literally bled out. Before you can reach the lost, your heart must break for what breaks the heart of God—and God’s heart breaks for people. Do not even attempt to change the programs of the church until you’ve changed the passion in the church.
Once you have a burden for the unchurched it will color how you see everything you do in church. You will be looking at your church through the lens of the lost. For example, if you were hosting important guests for dinner who have never been to your home before, you would probably do some things differently. You would make sure the house is clean. You would warmly greet them at the door. You would let them sit in “your” chair. You would turn off the TV and give them your full attention. You would probably even break out the nice dishes instead of the paper plates. In other words, you would pull out all the stops to show them that you are glad they came and do everything you can to make them feel welcome and wanted. This isn’t compromise; it’s courtesy!
Churches that want to reach the unchurched must have a guest-friendly makeover. They should examine every element of the weekend service through the eyes of their target and then make adjustments to ensure that they are treating their guests as VIPs.
Now that you’ve prepped the house for company, you’re ready to invite them over!
It is still true that nearly 70 percent of our first-time guests came because someone invited them. Yes, it’s good to have a great web site, Facebook page and social media presence, but all those things are supplementary tools. Nothing will ever replace the power of personal invitation.
Pastors often ask me, “How do I get my people to invite?” But that’s not the right question.
The right question is, “Why aren’t my people inviting?” And sadly the reason is usually because they don’t feel their church would be a great experience for their lost friends.
People naturally invite to something that they are excited about and has changed their life. You don’t have to twist someone’s arm to talk about what they’re excited about.
Want to learn the three secrets of turning your members into inviters? Check out my blog post titled How to Spark an Invitational Revolution.
When the leaders are filled with a passion to reach the lost, the worship services are tuned to be guest friendly and your people are regularly inviting, you have a powerful recipe to reach the unchurched in your community!