Creative LeadershipEngaging CultureStrategy & Marketing

The Best (And Least Expensive) Way To Grow Your Church

...and it's probably not what you think.

I’ve been visiting some remarkable churches lately. I’m talking about churches that were growing before the pandemic, then embraced the digital world during the pandemic, and now are back growing again after the pandemic.

In every case, they cited one powerful tool for growing the church – and it’s a tool that doesn’t cost a thing.

Word of mouth.

That’s right. The fastest growing churches in America are growing because their people tell their friends about it. They recommend it. They can’t wait to share what’s happening.

From a purely marketing perspective, a 2019 report by Edelman discovered that 63% of consumers between 18 and 34 years old said that they “trust what influencers say about brands much more than what brands say about themselves in their advertising.” In other words, they trust their friends more than they trust advertisers. Other research reveals that what we call “seeded” marketing campaigns (those that use influencers to discuss brands online and with friends) can increase sales by up to 18%.

When people talk about something, their friends listen. And like I said, it doesn’t cost anything, but there’s one critical thing that needs to happen before word of mouth advertising kicks in:

There needs to be something happening at your church that gets people talking.

It happened to Jesus on a regular basis:

Matthew 4:25: Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

Matthew 8:1: When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him.

Mark 5:21: When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore.

There’s plenty more but you get the idea. Those crowds didn’t come to hear Jesus because of the billboards, social media campaigns, or TV commercials. They came because they wanted to see what everyone was talking about.

What’s happening in your church that gets people talking? Are lives being changed? Are people experiencing God? Are they discovering something that’s been missing in their lives?

For all the church growth programs, marketing strategies and advertising, we too often forget the simple fact that when things are happening at your church that gets people talking, they invite their friends.

What will it take to get people talking about your church? Whatever it is, it’s time to start…

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One Comment

  1. IMHO Phil you just gave a great example here of why it should always be people over programs. Programs may be a “flash in the pan” thing but word of mouth last a long time. Excellent thoughts here.

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