Research shows that thousands of evangelical churches close their doors annually in America. The reason? Because their congregations have stopped valuing or understanding the benefit of the local church.
We must stop this. People in the community regularly drive past empty church buildings and don’t miss anything. Many don’t even know who previously owned the property before the CVS or Walgreens opens it’ s doors.
How do we fix this? Let’s remember that every church has 2 critical audiences: internal congregation and external community. Why did the church close? Your congregation gets so small they can’t cover expenses. Your congregation’s happiness is essential.
BUT, if you’re concentrating on keeping your internal audience happy while ignoring your external audience, then you’ll probably not experience growth. And through aging, moving, and the disgruntled, you’ll start to decline in numbers. If this continues, you’ll end up a sad statistic.
Our churches MUST start concentrating on the external community in order to experience the potential of growth. And we must do 3 things with BOTH audiences in order to guarantee growth.
- Build a church brand based on a growing community segment. Monitor your community to see shifts in demographic groups and compare them to your current congregation. What community groups are growing? Do you also have some of them attending your church now? Consciously decide to build a church that is known for something relevant and needed in that growing demographic (that won’t alienate the other persona groups in your congregation).
- Discover a need/goal in your growing community that your congregation also has. The group you’ve identified becomes your primary communication persona. Interview and research that persona to identify a perceived need or a challenging goal that you can authentically help them with. This can be spiritual or temporal — but remember that a third of your community has little desire for the spiritual. However, if you concentrate on a temporal thread to attract, ensure that your church uses it to connect with a deeper spiritual introduction later.
- Control the language of your community to provide a solution or path to the goal. Once you decide on the need or goal coupled with its solution or path, start continuously talking about the pain or the path. People will pay attention to someone who understands what they’re going through when they want to lovingly walk with them to a solution. Guaranteed. You just must control your language to ensure they are genuinely receiving that benefit. And they would miss it if it actually vanished.
Just do it. Ensure that your benefit is relevant to the growing group in your community. And it’s unique and not readily found somewhere else. Once this comes together and it’s communicated properly, you’ll grow. And the Church will grow as you love them as Christ loved.