Direct mail, print ads, radio, and TV commercials … traditional advertising can be a helpful tool for someone who's selling cars or opening a restaurant. But it’s not an ideal way to reach people and tell them about your church, especially during summertime when no one is listening. Discover Family Church realized this early on and took action.
We sat down Johnny Kelly, pastor at Discover Family Church in Lakeland, FL. with to learn more about how Reach helped him grow attendance and giving, during the summer.
Underwhelming Results With Traditional Advertising
For years, Discover Family Church used traditional advertising to grow its church community. It worked out as well as can be expected, Johnny said. Yet, its effectiveness was limited. “Advertising has its place, but people are far more likely to try out a new church if a friend recommends it,” he told us. "Personal recommendations make all the difference, and they’re even more important when it comes to bringing in people who haven’t grown up attending church," Johnny says. It’s far more likely that people unfamiliar with church will take a leap of faith and try one when they know there will be familiar faces in the crowd.
When Johnny learned about Reach, he was intrigued. Reach is the perfect way to help members recommend their church, so he decided to test the program starting in April, right before summer.
Welcoming New Guests During the Slow Summer Months
After launching Reach, Discover Family Church enjoyed a marked increase in Facebook exposure and weekly attendance all the way through August. Johnny is certain that the 30 new members the church welcomed during the historically slow summer months can be credited to Reach.
How can he be sure? “Each Sunday when I greet new guests, they tell me they’re visiting our church because they keep seeing great things about it on Facebook,” he said. Facebook account analytics also tell the same story. Discover Family Church went from an average of 10,000 impressions from check-ins per month to 87,000 after using Reach. That’s an increase of over 8X!
Building Reputation for Caring About People
In addition to the increased exposure Discover Family Church now has on Facebook, they are also enjoying a tremendously positive reputation. “Reach has given us the reputation of caring about people first, and that helps breakdown the hesitancy people can feel when thinking about trying a new church,” Johnny said. “Our church has grown a name for being a place people want to come to, and it’s all because of Reach.”
Fostering a Spirit of Giving
Johnny joined Reach to boost church membership but says he’s most impressed by what he describes as a “surprise benefit” of the program. “Reach has grown our community giving, which allows our church to do more outreach,” he said. “Each check-in turns people on to giving. It’s so easy there’s no reason not to do it. It only takes 30 seconds, and it gives people a way to jump on board and support important causes.”
People may not have a spare morning or evening to volunteer for a cause, but they’ve certainly got a minute for a quick check in to help out a worthy charitable organization. When folks give through Reach they decide they like the feeling. Giving is contagious, and he says he’s thrilled to see community members go on to give more in other ways.
"Reach makes it easy for our community members to step into the world of giving without putting any skin in the game. They get comfortable with giving and excited about what the church is doing overall. Then they get more involved, and they give more," Johnny said. Reach has helped Discover Family Church attract new members and excite them with the rewards of giving. Johnny says he encourages other churches to give it a try. “It’s so easy,” he says, “and it works.”