Attendance Campaign Ideas

Attendance Campaign Ideas Thursday, January 31, 2013 5:46:47 PM
written by Jeff Fugate

We are going to talk about organizing and preparing for an attendance campaign, and I am going to give you basic philosophies or promotions that will prepare us.  When you think of attendance campaigns you start working on promotional ideas.  I want to help you to think from a pastor's point of view.  The success of a campaign to me is not how many attended during the campaign but how many I keep after that.  That is really what I want.  I want to keep folks after that is over.  I want to talk to you about how you can get maximum use out of campaigns or maximum use out of promotions.  We will talk not only about the bus ministry but also about the drive-in crowd. To me, promotions are encouragers, extra reasons, or motivations for the people coming and also the people inviting others to come.  The key to a promotion is not necessarily the promotion but the excitement about the promotion.  That's why sometimes competition does more than items that you give.  Now, you don't want to have competition every single week, promotion, and attendance campaign.  Sometimes competitions can get out of hand.  If you have people that are serious about winning no matter what it is about, then you might have trouble on your hands.  You have to be careful about having too many competitions, but they can be a good thing.  Promotions are encouragers.



The bottom line of a promotion is that we want to get the Gospel to as many people as we can.  We want to get folks saved.  We want to get folks baptized.  We want to get them in church.  Think about these statements if you will.  The multitudes followed Jesus because of the things that He did for them.  It was not, for the multitudes, what He was but what He did for them.  Jesus even stated that they were there because He fed them or healed the sick.  Some followed Him because they wanted to see a miracle.  They just wanted to see something that they had never seen before.  I am for promotions.  I am for it, and I don't care who criticizes.  There is one preacher on the radio in this area.  I appreciate him because he advertises for us all the time.  He calls us the Gimmick Baptist Church, but, of course, he is still sitting there with 50 dead, dry people in his church. 


He said, "We don't do gimmicks.  We don't do things to get folks to come to church.  If you want to come to church because you love God, then you can come."  He still has the same 50 people going to his church.  Jesus said that if we give a cup of cold water in His name that He would bless it.  I don't see promotions as a negative thing.  Some folks say, "Well, you are bribing them to come!"  I don't care what you call it.  You can call it "rewarding them to come," "encouraging them to come," or "motivating them to come."  Not very many people come to church because I am the pastor or you are the pastor.  They can stay at home and hear better preaching than me.  They are not going to come to church to just hear me. 



Promotions encourage people to come, and they help to build relationships.  Relationships are the bottom reason that people come to church.  "Why did you come today?"  Nobody ever said, "Well, I just wanted to hear you preach."  No, they say, "I came because my friend invited me to come."  I glad they came because I am going to preach, give them the Gospel, give them the truth, and give them something that will help their life.  There are folks who stayed in church because of my preaching, but that is not why they came.  Promotions encourage and enhance an invitation to help get people into church.  There are various types of people in our world; therefore, it takes various promotions to get the attention of different types of people. 


This is an important truth.  I want to invite everybody to come to our church.  I want everybody to come.  I preached Monday, and I believe it, that I am not going to change the service to make it more convenient for people, but I am going to go to those who will come.  I want everyone to come, but I want you to think about this.  The poor and hungry came to Jesus for the fish and the bread.  That is why they came.  If you were to ask them, "Why are you here today?"  They would say, "I'm hungry."  It would be good if that bus kid said, "I'm here because I love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and I want to know more about the 1611 King James Bible.  I want to know more about how to build a strong Christian marriage and a wonderful life.  I want to get a job and be productive."  It would be wonderful if they said that, but most of the time the multitude came for the fish and the bread.  That means we are going to have fish and bread.  We are going to have food.  We are going to have promotions to get that crowd to come. 


The rich came to Christ to see Him.  He was a man that had a great following.  Something interesting to me in the Bible is when Jesus said, "Suffer the children to come unto me."  You don't even have to ask.  Just let them because they will come.  Jesus went after the common man, but the rich man came to Jesus.  Nicodemus came to Jesus by night.  Zacchaeus came to Jesus.  Why?  Because He was well-known and the miracles that He had done.  Peter followed Jesus because He had a purpose greater than the purpose in his life.  The life of a fisherman was hard work.  It was difficult work.  They toiled in the heat of the day and then mended and prepared their nets.  The fish were then caught in the night with only a few hours between each shift.  Those fishermen, often times, slept on the boat.  In the days of Peter, there was terrible taxation.  Their lives were hard and miserable.  Then came a man who said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."  Peter followed Him for a purpose. 


There are folks that are in our church, and they love it here.  Do you know why?  They get to be involved.  It gives them a purpose for life.  Before church their life just existed.  They would just go to work and go through life, but now it is a life that is worth living.  There are many folks that come to church because there is a purpose in living.  There are many men and women that are faithful laymen that are involved in everything they can be.  They are excited because purpose is given to them in the local church. 


The little children came to Jesus because they wanted to be with someone who was so kind and loving.  They loved to be around Jesus.  Some came to Christ because His wisdom and teaching.  Think about what Nicodemus said and thought about Christ.  Often times, we just promote one single group.  When we organize a campaign we often promote only one group.  It is easier to get only the bus kids to come.  That is the easiest crowd to get to come.  However, when we think about an attendance campaign, we ought to think of every class of people and ever age of people and there ought to be a hook out in the water for every single group and class of people.  I am going to help you to not only have a big day in attendance, but also to see your church grow. 



If you go fishing for catfish, you will probably stop and get a little thing of chicken liver or greenworms.  I would rather have chicken liver any time.  Greenworms stink.  If I am going to fish for bass, I don't use chicken liver.  If I am going to fish for crappie, I don't use greenworms.  I use whatever bait is appropriate for the type of fish that I am trying to catch.  When I put together an attendance campaign, I want ever area of our church to increase.  I want visitors to come, so I can get folks saved, baptized, and into church.  I think about every age group and class. 



Here is a list of age groups that you need to think about as you prepare an attendance campaign:


1.  The Nursery

Preacher, how would you promote nurseries?  We just gave to all of our babies and toddlers a t-shirt that said, "I am loved in the nursery of Clays Mill Road Baptist Church."  It was a beautiful little t-shirt.  We have baby parades about every year with all the babies up to age 2.  We accomplish more than one thing.  The mothers will come.  The grandparents, aunts, and uncles come.  All the mothers hold their babies up here.  They whine and cry and fuss and kick, and it is a great time for me to say, "Now, do you see why we have a nursery here every service.  Can you imagine me trying to compete with these kids?"  We run about 90 in our nursery attendance through age 3. 


2.  The Toddlers


3.  The Primaries (Grades 1-3)


4.  The Juniors (Grades 4-6)


5.  The Junior High (Grades 7-9)


6.  The High School (Grades 10-12)

There are different things that attract different groups.  If you tell grades 4-6 boys that there will be girls, then they aren't coming.  They hate girls!  If you tell 10th, 11th, and 12th grade boys that there will be girls, then you will have a different result.  You use different things to get different folks to come.


7.  The Single/College Age


8.  The Young Couples


9.  Couples with Children


10.  Couples with Grown Children


11.  Seniors


If you look at your past programs, you may say, "It is no wonder just our buses increased because that was the only kind of promotion that we had.  We didn't have anything for this group or this group or this group, etc."  You need to look and say, "Now, if I was fishing for grades 4-6..."  Giving away a gas grill is not going to get 4-6 grade boys and girls to come.  They don't care.  They would rather go to McDonalds and get one rather than cook out, but that gift might get a couple to come. 



We then look at the classes of people in our area.  There is a group that is poor.  Many of them are poor because they want to be, but they are poor.  Let me classify them further.  There are the lazy or welfare poor.  You can't build a church with them, but I don't want them to die and go to Hell.  If a man is too lazy to get up and go to work on Monday, then he is probably too lazy to get up and go to church on Sunday.  Lazy people never make good Christians.  The Holy Spirit can, of course, change their life.


There is the working poor.  These are folks that work hard, but they believe that commercial that says, "Somebody is going to win!  It might as well be you!"  So they take $10 a day and play the lottery or spend $15 a day buying cigarettes.  They are working people, but the vices of sin have them pulled down.  They don't have anything, but they are working poor.  There are certain promotions that attract a working poor.  It is different than the lazy poor. 


There is the working middle class.  These are folks that are working people.  Their jobs are decent.  They have a nice clean place.  They are more careful in budgeting their money.  They might not have as many vices of sin.


There is the upper class or the folks that are a little more well-to-do.  They have a little more money than average.  I want to reach everybody.  You will find all of these people in our church.  You will find the lazy poor.  We had folks here Sunday that are the lazy poor.  Do you know what they did?  They went in and out and in and out of the service.  The ushers had to keep stopping them.  Do you know why they went in and out?  They didn't have enough character to sit there and listen.  We had one couple here because we were going to feed them.  We were going to help them after church to find a place to stay.  They were disturbing in the service, but they are going to go to Heaven when they die because they got saved.  I wish they would come to church, but they don't have enough character.  I want to reach them, though.  I don't want them to die and go to Hell. 


We had the working poor here.  We had some folks that work hard, and my heart breaks for them.  Before they got saved, sin got them in a terrible mess.  Sometimes it was a divorce or two.  Other times it was drinking and vice and sin.  We have a lot of folks like that.  I love these folks, and I do everything I can to teach them and help them.  I have had folks in debt as much as $50,000 that today are debt free.  They learned that I don't need a new car every four years.  Every time a credit card comes in the mail, I don't have to use that. We have many folks that are working middle class people.  We have a few upper class folks.



Now, I want to look at the needs and the desires of these different classes of people.  Do you know what the lazy poor come for?  They will come for a fried chicken dinner.  They will get up and come because you are going to feed them; so, I will have a promotion that is a food item or a toy item.  It is shame that there are some churches where kids are playing these games all the time, and right before church momma will take it away and put it in her purse.  They will sit there and almost have withdrawals before they can get their game again.  There are some folks that live their life in order to play those crazy games.  I am not against all that.  I don't like them very much because all my boys can beat me at them hands down. 


There are things that working poor will come for.  For example, they need furniture.  They need a second car.  They need love, acceptance, and appreciation.  They would love to spend time with the pastor; so, there are promotions that we can use that would help them to win trips, go out to eat, or go on an activity with the pastor. 


If you are going to have a growing bus ministry, then you are going to have to reach some working people because somebody has to pay for it.  Our insurance bill is $4,000 a month.  Somebody has to pay for that.  We have to have about $10,000 a day to keep our ministries going.  Do you know that our bus kids don't help much?  That bunch!  We tell them, but they won't help us!  We have got to have that working middle class.  That is the strength of the whole church.  Recognition is the best promotion for working middle class people.  I'm not necessarily talking about recognizing them but letting them recognize or honor people.  For example, this year Veteran's Day is on a Sunday.  That is a day that our church gets to honor our veterans. 


Through the years we have had various honor guards to come and present the flags.  It is hard trying to find good groups anymore; so, do you know what we are going to do this year?  We are going to take our flags that represent the various branches of service and have our men that have served in the military present the colors.  We get to honor our veterans, but our men are going to bring the flags in.  I would rather see an 85 year old WWII veteran walking down the aisle than some secular honor guard anyway. 


Grandparentís Day is a great recognition day.  They get their grandkids to come with them to see them honored.  They didn't come to here me preach.  They had to, though.  That is really why had grandparents day.  It was not just to honor them but so they could hear the preaching.  If you say to the middle or upper class people, "If you come Sunday, I will give you a cheeseburger from McDonalds!"  they will probably respond, "I don't want a McDonald's cheeseburger.  My wife and I are going to fix a T-bone steak on the grill when we get home."  You will offend a middle or upper class person by trying to give them something to try and get them to come to church.  We have a grandfather clock out in the foyer.  Do you know where that came from?  We got it as a promotion for a certain group of folks, but we found that they had nicer grandfather clocks at home.  We didn't have one, so we won it ourselves and put it out there in the foyer.


They will come to recognize people.  You can have a 911 Sunday where you honor Law Enforcement, Firemen, and medical workers.  We have many police officers in our church.  We have everything from sheriffs to firemen to secret service agents that attend the church.  They will come on those special days.  Right-to-Life Sunday is a great Sunday.  Why is it that if it weren't for the Catholics there would be no protection of life?  We are pro-life!  How come we let the Catholics have all the pro-life activities then?  We had a "Right to Life Sunday", and probably had 40 Catholics there.  Now, the service was about our churches across the state working to pass a fetal homicide bill. 


We had a mother who was on her way to the hospital to have her baby when her car was hit by a drunk driver.  The mother lived, but the baby died.  We had the husband and family of two other expectant women who were killed along with their babies when they were hit by drunk drivers.  At that time in Kentucky, if the baby died it didn't count for manslaughter or anything towards the drunk driver.  I talked about the bill and the importance of getting it passed, but the sermon that day was about Jesus saying that He had come so that we might have life and might have it more abundantly.  He didn't just give us this life.  He gave us eternal life.  When we fought expanded liquor sales here in Lexington, there were Southern Baptist pastors that called on the radio and criticized me, but I had a 30 year veteran Catholic doctor who sat beside me in support against expanded liquor.  Here is what I am saying.  When you recognize people, it builds your working middle class group.


Upper class is attracted by success.  They like to be in a church that is doing something.  There are folks in churches that don't agree with half of what the preacher says, but they like to be associated with success.  They like that fact of a growing church.  Success attracts successful families.  You don't have to have a fancy building, but you ought to have it neat and clean.  You should clean and paint and get your buildings looking nice and clean.  Again, they don't have to be fancy.  Then, of course, votes attract politicians! J


Special Sermon Series promos

Don't just think of what those groups need materially, but think of what they need spiritually.  Prepare lessons and sermons, and advertise those sermons.  For example, you can say, "The next six weeks we are going to teach six lessons on building strong families on a sure foundation.  I promise you that if you come the next..."  It doesn't matter if I only say that in church.  I've got to advertise on the radio, by way of flyers, or on the newspaper.  "Do you want your marriage stronger?  Do you want a better family home-life?  Is there fussing and fighting in your home?  Wouldn't you like to have a godly home where there is happiness and peace?  I want you to come and hear these lessons throughout the next six weeks - 'Building a Strong Family on a Sure Foundation.'" 


You may talk about how to overcome stress and anxiety.  I use this statement often - "The world will teach you how to cope with your problems.  The Bible does not teach how to cope with anything.  The Bible says that we are overcomers."  Tell them you will teach them how to be an overcomer in the next six weeks.  I quite often advertise in our church bulletin what my Sunday school lesson series or Wednesday night series is going to be. 


Sermons on the family, marriage, and finances will interest people.  Jesus said more about money in the Gospels than He said about Heaven and Hell.  Is it more important?  No, but Jesus did teach a lot about finances.  I want to teach lessons that help my people.  I want to teach principles for living.  "I am going to teach the next four weeks on rearing children, how to discipline, how to deal with rebellion, how to rear teenagers.  You won't want to miss it!"  Folks will come because they need help in those areas.  As you visit and soulwin, you will find out what the problems are.  I am talking about a middle class group of people that will respond to your advertisements. 



Novelties are good for middle class people (t-shirts, coffee mugs, calendars, things with the church name on them, hats, keychains, ink pens, church's name in the newspaper, TV ads, a trip with the pastor).  Think of the sportsman in your church.  They like shotguns.  "You would give away a shotgun in your church?"  Sure!  There are many things that you could think of to appeal to that group.


In closing, remember.  People often come to church because they have a need, but they often stay in church because they are needed.  The object is to get people to come to church so they can get involved and become a part of the church.