When Summit Church struck out on their own, as an off-shoot from a larger campus, they expected immediate growth. Fresh church. Fresh community. Flocks of members. But, as most church start-ups experience, things didn't happen that way. It took a lot of mistakes, a lot of hard work, and a lot of wasted outreach dollars. And for The Summit Church, it took Reach.
Tom Hogsed, Lead Pastor at Summit Church, shared his challenges with us. Starting with a launch team of 30 people and a $15,000 budget for mailers, Summit Church saw 160 new people on their first Sunday. The room was full! There was just one problem: the following Sunday, attendance was down by half.
Over the next year and a half, Summit Church saw 60-75 consistent members. But their outreach mailers and many other advertising methods weren't producing favorable results, and their budget was diminishing.
While checking Facebook one afternoon, Tom saw a Facebook post about Reach. He learned that when someone at a church checks in on Facebook, Reach donates to a Kingdom-building mission project. It immediately caught his eye and seemed like a good fit for his congregation. A week later he decided to schedule a demo with the Reach team.
"Someone called me within an hour. And the great part was it didn't feel like a sales pitch. They cared about what was best for my church. There was zero pressure to sign up," said Tom.
After hearing about the benefits of Reach, Tom enrolled Summit Church and was up and running the following week. "Reach fit the DNA of our church because it would allow us to serve people in need while inviting people to church."
To promote Reach within the Summit Church community, Tom made an effort to talk about it every Sunday, on Facebook, and in personal interactions. The people embraced Reach right away, checking in at every opportunity. It was a chance to do good and spread the word about their church, together.
Tom immediately noticed a visibility increase on Summit Church's Facebook page. Not long after, his members were checking in regardless of Sunday announcements! Since starting Reach, The Summit Church has generated more than 775,000+ Facebook impressions from over 1,850 Facebook check-ins. They have also seen an direct increase in membership.
Tom told us about two members who brought two new families to the church by checking in multiple times a week. Both families were seeking a church community and the check-ins kept appearing on their Facebook News Feeds. Since they both had personal connections at Summit Church, they decided to visit. It ended up being a perfect fit!
The Summit Church realized the personal connection of a Facebook check-in was a more effective form of outreach than the mailers they were sending out. In fact, they have since discontinued all mailers. Reach met their outreach needs and helped them support Kingdom-building mission projects, all while saving them thousands of outreach dollars.
Tom advises any church considering Reach, "It’s a win-win situation. You’re not wasting money because you're doing good and you can’t go wrong with that. Reach should be a part of every church's DNA."