We know it’s not all about the numbers. But numbers equal people. The more who are connected to a church body, the more they will come to know Christ and grow in their relationship with Him. If your church hasn’t been growing, maybe it’s because of a lack of outreach. Maybe there really is a connection between outreach and church growth.
Many of the fastest-growing churches in America are those that are outward-focused. They don’t only emphasize showing up and sitting in service on Sundays, they get out and engage those in their communities.
Rather than simply staying in and inviting people to join, these churches go out—impacting the city (and world) around them. The result? Church growth.
Let’s take a look at what church outreach is, why it’s an effective strategy to enlarge your Christian family, and how to implement outreach at your church.
What is outreach?
It seems pretty self-explanatory because outreach is the act of “reaching out.” It usually pertains to organizations, non-profits, and churches that become involved in their communities or other efforts to provide services to those who would otherwise not have access to them.
In the church realm, this usually means doing ministry outside of your church walls, or hosting events that would bring the “unchurched” in. It includes meeting the needs of people, whether they attend your church or not.
Why do outreach?
Participating in outreach can make a difference and have both physical and eternal impacts. Your staff, volunteers, and congregation can positively shift physical problems, like hunger or a dilapidated building. At the same time, those who are being served have the opportunity to feel loved and hear the gospel.
The Bible tells us to “love your neighbor.” How can we honestly be loving our neighbors in our communities if we aren’t going out to them? A simple way to love your neighbor is to ask what they need, and then do something about it. (More about this below).
If those in your community know that your church cares about them, people will start showing up. They’ll want to participate in an organization that does good for others. That’s why church growth can be connected with outreach opportunities.
How do you “do” outreach?
First, get outside the church. Sure, you can host some events at your place of worship, but you’ll have more “reach” if you go out. Oftentimes, people that aren’t used to attending church don’t feel comfortable going to one at first. If you make things available throughout your city, you’ll find a wide range of people who normally wouldn’t show up on a Sunday.
Know the pain in your community. Find out what needs aren’t being met, and meet them. Ask how you can fulfill a lack or help others. Partner with other community organizations – crisis centers, family centers, and homeless shelters. Ask the local police station or firehouse if you can beautify the stations. Inquire the mayor and local government about what needs to be done around the city. There are plenty of outreach opportunities if we look around.
Get members involved in serving and leading various outreach efforts. This encourages consistency because they will no longer be “pew sitters” but engaged members who are passionate about making a difference. If there isn’t currently a ministry that somebody wants to do, have them start outreach ministries. Rock Church in San Diego has numerous outreach ministries where people use their gifts and talents to reach people where they’re at for Christ.
How does outreach produce church growth?
Like we mentioned earlier, outreach can expand your church by converting uncommitted attendees into engaged members. Those who volunteer find a purpose for their service and are more likely to attend consistently and also invite others to join them.
It can also have an impact on growth because those who are being served may be interested in attending. When they have their physical needs met and hear the gospel, you’re planting seeds for spiritual transformation. They may want to get involved with an organization that is passionate about bettering their community, especially when it has benefited them.
Examples of outreach
There are multiple avenues to pour into your communities through outreach.
- Host a toy drive during Christmas time or serve food and groceries to those in need.
- Do a community cleanup day by picking up trash at the park or beach, or paint the benches and plant trees at a local school.
- Pray over homes in neighborhoods in your city or have members participate in street evangelism.
- Host a basketball game in your church gym or schedule a beach volleyball tournament. Finding activities that people enjoy doing and then providing opportunities for the community to join in is an easy way to start outreach.
Connect Your Outreach and Church Growth
When churches are outward focused, rather than just concentrated on Sunday services, more people end up joining the church. People like community service and seeing organizations blessing the community. It can get people involved with volunteerism and the people they are serving will then be prompted to attend the church after hearing about it and being served by their staff/volunteers.
Streamline your outreach process with ShareFaith Connect. Plan your outreach events and provide easy registration. Keep track of volunteers and those who are interested in learning more. ShareFaith makes it easy to engage and grow disciples through outreach.