I get a lot of questions. This question is high on the list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
School starts in mid August in our community. Shouldn’t our fall church-wide campaign launch when school starts?
Assumptions that drive the question:
- An attendance surge often coincides with school starting. “Our congregation is back after taking vacations in June and July.”
- People often report being too busy to join a group in late September. “They’ve already arranged their family calendars and commitments before a late September launch of a church-wide campaign.”
My Answer: You probably should not launch in August. At least not without wrestling through several major questions. Here are the 4 questions that must be answered:
When will you promote your church-wide campaign? The most effective campaigns are well promoted. For example, although Saddleback’s fall campaigns typically begin in late September or early October, it’s not unusual for Rick Warren to begin talking about their fall campaign in late spring. A successful mid August campaign would need to begin promotion no later than late May or early June. See also, When Is the Best Time to Launch a Church-Wide Campaign?
- Note: Every marketer knows a person needs to hear something 7 to 9 times before it gets their attention. See also, 5 Keys to Getting Everyone Involved in a Church-Wide Campaign.
Who will lead the new groups you hope to launch? The most impactful campaigns engage a wave of new small group leaders. Rather than being content to tap the usual suspects, the HOST strategy is implemented specifically to offer potential leaders an opportunity to put their toes in the water. A successful mid August campaign would need to begin recruiting group leaders no later than early July.
- Note: Your senior pastor is almost always your best recruiter. Substituting anyone else almost always leads to a disappointing response. A successful mid August campaign will need to leverage the senior pastor’s influence in early July. See also, How to Make the HOST Ask and Why You Must Make the HOST Ask Several Weeks in a Row.
- Note: The combination of a well-executed church-wide campaign with the HOST strategy makes it possible for the people with the strongest connections outside the church to invite their friends. See also, Do You Know This Game-Changing Connection Secret?
Who do you hope to connect? Church-wide campaigns offer the very best opportunity to connect the largest number of unconnected people…provided the campaign is well planned and strategically implemented. Unconnected people are infrequent attenders and may be attending for the first time in many weeks right when your campaign is launching. A successful mid August campaign would need to take the traits of unconnected people into consideration. See also, 5 Things You Need to Know about Connecting Unconnected People.
- Note: Your church-wide campaign topic determines who you will be able to connect. Wishful thinking is rarely helpful. Far more effective to choose the topic based on who you hope to connect. See also, Your Church-Wide Campaign Topic Determines Two Huge Outcomes.
What is the purpose of your church-wide campaign? This is a critical question. Campaigns can unify churches, deepen the prayer life of members, and make stronger disciples. They can also reach the friends, neighbors, co-workers and family of hosts who invite them to join their group.
- Note: Attempting to do “all of the above” is a recipe that leads to ineffective campaigns. Far better to develop a clear objective and design everything around it.
- Note: Churches that have a clear understanding of their objective (i.e., what they will call success) have the best opportunity to succeed.
My Takeaway: Although I am regularly asked this question, I sincerely believe it is best to follow my 10 Simple Steps to a Great Church-Wide Campaign.
What do you think? Have a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.