Wondering why your church event was poorly attended after all the effort you put into promoting it? Here are some steps to help you more effectively plan and promote your next church event.

It’s happened to us all. We’ve promoted the heck out of an event or ministry at our church only to have the same 20% of church members show up. You got the word out everywhere possible. Many times! So what happened?

There are a couple of options…


1. The event wasn’t worth attending.

This sounds harsh, but it might be true. Even if the event was successful in the past, it might have run its course. It might be time to let it die and focus your energy and resources on something new. Also, it might just not have had any value to your community. Go over the event with a fine-toothed comb and determine its value.


2. You didn’t use the right words or strategies.

If you determined the event had value to your community it’s likely you used the wrong words or strategies to promote the event.

How To Plan and Promote Your Next Church Event

Knowing HOW to talk about your church events, programs, or ministries will make all the difference in how you promote them. Before you can know how to talk about something your church will offer, you need to know why you’re offering it. Here are four things to consider when planning and promoting a church event, program, or ministry.


1. Discern the problem before offering a solution


Churches often create an event, ministry, or program, before they consider the needs and desires of their community. If you create the event before understanding the needs of your community you are promoting a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. So, no one responds.

Take time to research, discuss, and pray about the real-life needs and desires of your community. Ask lots of questions! Whether they be physical needs or felt needs.

Maybe, your community needs something like a food pantry, shelter, rehabilitation program etc. Maybe, they just need somewhere they can go and have fun at no cost because they’re struggling to pay the bills.

Discern the problem and THEN offer a solution.


2. Identify your target audience


No, your target audience is not everyone. Sure, maybe everyone is welcome to attend, but “everyone” is not your target audience. If you’ve done a good job of figuring out the problem or need in your community your audience should be obvious. It’s the people whose need you are attempting to fulfill. If your community lacks senior care, your audience is caregivers. Maybe it’s young families who need a good time halfway through a semester of school. Your audience is then young parents.

Be as specific as possible when determining your audience. You can expand if you find you have too narrow a focus. Just don’t cast the net too wide.


3. Determine the most effective ways to reach your target audience


How you promote something will differ between audiences. If you’re promoting a senior night you won’t use the same methods or words when promoting a movie night for preschoolers. Come up with a list of 5 ways you can reach your target audience. Rank them for perceived effectiveness. Have you promoted to this audience before? Look back and see what worked, if anything, last time. A few options might be

  • Email targeting with current lists or subsets of lists
  • Social Media posts and/or paid ads on social media
  • Word of mouth – start from the pulpit and work your way out
  • Targeted mailer – did you know you can target individual mail routes and not just full zip codes? Determine which mail routes most closely fit your target audience
  • Yard signs – Both in the church yard and yards of members if they’ll buy-in
  • Handouts and flyers – Have members pass out flyers to invite friends

These are just a handful of options. Determine your available options based on your context and budget and work from there.


4. Determine the words you will use to promote your event


Now, we know the problem we’re trying to solve. The audience we’re targeting. The methods we’ll use. Next, we want to be sure our words are effective in persuading our audience to act. The fewer words you can use to get your message across the better. That way it fits in any form in which you choose to promote your church event. Address the need or desire the audience has. How you’re offering to fulfill it. How their lives will be better after. Then, call them to action!

  • Address the need or desire – Don’t rub it in, but make it clear you understand what they need or want. That will draw their attention to what you’re offering.
  • Tell them how you can help – Be clear on how you will help. How will your event address the issues, needs, or concerns your audience has right now? Tell them!
  • How will their lives be better after your church event? – How can your audience expect to see their lives improved through your church event or ministry? Churches often fail in this step. People want to know what’s in it for them. Show them how their lives will be better. It might be as simple as “Leave stress free and ready to take on anything the week throws at you!” Maybe it’s something like, “We’ll help you put recovery in sight and keep it there!” It might even just be “leave with a belly full of laughter and ice cream.” Don’t over-exaggerate, but do offer something.
  • Call them to action – This is important. Don’t forget that you need your audience to do something. Whether that is to register, contact you, or show up. You need to ASK THEM to do something. Don’t assume they know what the next step is.


Find Clarity in Promoting Your Church Events and Ministries

When you have identified a real need or desire within your community and have a solid plan to address it, the promotional aspect of the ministry becomes so much easier. Follow these four steps of planning and promoting your next church event and increase your chances of succesfully ministering to your community.

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Read more on the benefits of contracting an outside Church Communications Manager.

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