Easter Marketing 101

It’s hard to believe, but Easter is once again right around the corner. For pastors it seems like it keeps coming faster and faster year after year, which means more stress and anxiety for most of us, but it also means another great opportunity to reach those in your community with the Gospel.

My church, probably like yours, has already met and finalized plans for this Easter. If you haven’t yet, you probably want to do that as soon as possible. It will be here before we know it.

As always, I’m putting plans in place to make sure everyone in my community knows that my church is going to have a great Easter service and we would love for them to be a part of it.

You should be doing the same.

If you’re not sure where to begin to create a marketing strategy for this Easter, let me give you some ideas we’ve used in the past and we’ll be using this year.

Mailers

We’re not doing mailers this year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Mailers are a great way to grab people’s attention, especially if you’re in a small town because not many churches do them. They are expensive, which is one of the reasons we’ve went away from them, but if you have the budget and you want to get your church’s name out there, this is probably the best way to do it. Just make sure you do it well, or it could backfire on you. If you don’t have a professional graphic designer in your church, I highly suggest paying someone to design your mailer for you. Radiant Printing is a good resource. Don’t forget when you mail them you want to make sure they hit mailboxes the week before Easter to have the most impact.

Facebook Ads

We’ve moved from mailers to Facebook ads as our primary form of marketing. Facebook ads have two big advantages. One, it costs a fraction of the price of a mailer, and two, the ads are seen multiple times leading up to Easter not just when you pull it out of the mailbox. If you don’t know where to start, this video should help. I would suggest starting your ad 2-3 weeks before Easter. Again, make sure it looks good, or it could have a negative impact.

Invite Cards

The most effective marketing strategy is your congregation inviting their friends and family. You can make this easier for them by providing invite cards. We use business size cards because they’re easier for people to carry in their wallet or purse, but we have used larger cards in the past. This year we will begin giving our congregation these cards in bundles of five or ten a few weeks before Easter.

Website

Our church website will be updated a few weeks prior to Easter to include the Easter logo and all the important information about service times and egg hunts. I’ve seen other churches have a dedicated website just for Easter at their church. We’ve never done that, but it’s another idea you could try.

Other Ideas

You could hide Easter baskets around your town and post the location on social media. The first person to find the basket wins a prize. We did this last year, and it was a big success. We will be doing it again this year the week leading up to Easter.

Easter egg hunts are always a big hit with families. We brought the egg hunt back to our church last year after going a few years without one, and I feel like everyone enjoyed it.

I’ve heard of churches putting invites into Easter eggs and handing them out around their community. This could be another creative way to invite people.

What are you doing at your church to invite people this Easter? We would love to learn from you, so make sure to leave a comment and let us know. Don’t forget if you want more updates on church growth, leadership, and strategy make sure to subscribe to the blog.

One Big Mistake Rural Churches Make

And How You Can Fix It

Tell me if you’ve heard this story before. We really need to fire _______, but we’re worried because his/her parents are one of our biggest givers. Or so and so is never prepared, but if we say anything, it’s going to cause a bunch of drama. So, we end up doing nothing, and everyone else suffers.

Larry Osborne said it this way, It is not loving to kill the flock while you’re trying to be nice to one lamb.

Yet, rural churches make this mistake over and over again.

And I get it, because when you lead a small rural church, you can’t afford to make too many mistakes. Because of this, we tend to lead out of fear.

Here’s what I mean.

When you have a budget of $100,000, it’s really hard to make a decision that may cause a $10,000 a year giver to leave.

When you have 100 people attending your church, it’s really hard to make a decision that may cause 20 people to leave.

And it’s easy for people like me to tell you what to do, but it’s you who has to live with the aftermath of that decision.

So, let me just say I know it isn’t easy, and I know what it’s like to lead out of fear. I’m not sure that ever fully goes away, at least not for pastors in small towns.

But I also know the cost of not acting when you should, and the benefits of overcoming your fear and going through with those hard decisions.

So, if you have someone in a position right now, paid or volunteer, that may need to be removed, I want to give you a five step process to go through with them that gives them the best chance at success and gives you the opportunity to say I did everything I could to keep them.

  1. Reality Check

More often than not, people do not realize how they are doing. This is because most of us have never sat down and had a conversation with them about it. Many of us just hope and pray it gets better. You may have figured out that that strategy does not work. You have to let them know things aren’t going well, and they need to change.

  1. Ongoing Support

Let them know you are willing to do everything you can to help them succeed. If they have questions, ask you. If they need resources, you’ll get them. You are going to do everything you can to keep them in that position, and if that fails, they can’t say it was because they didn’t have your support.

  1. Timeline

It could be 30, 60, or 90 days. I wouldn’t suggest going past 90 because that’s a long time to let a ministry suffer. This is the window of time you’re giving them to change, and you’re providing your support during this entire time.

  1. Ongoing Evaluation

In order to make sure they are on the right path, you are going to meet with them throughout this timeline. It could be every week or every other week. I wouldn’t meet less often than that. During this time, you’re there to provide feedback on the progress that is or isn’t being made.

  1. Deadline

At the end of the timeline, there’s a deadline. Either they made the changes that needed to be made and you’re happy to go forward with them, or they didn’t and you’re going to have to make a change. Ultimately whatever happens here, it was up to them. They made their own decision.

Letting someone go is never easy, even if it’s a volunteer. You know his or her family, you run into them at restaurants, your kids go to school together. It’s hard in a small town.

But, sometimes it’s necessary to protect the vision of the church and the people they influence.

Have you ever had to fire someone? How did you go about it? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

4 Ways to Identify Leaders

How much would ten new volunteers benefit your church this year? The kind of volunteers who show up on time. The kind that jump in and help even when it’s not their day to serve. The kind that do everything you ask them to and more. Now imagine that they also have leadership abilities, so they’re a positive influence on those around them. They have a make it better mindset, and they have great character. Would that not transform your church?

But do these people even exist, and if so, how do you find them?

You might get lucky, and they may come to you. Although, as a general rule I’m a bit leery of people who come to me looking for a leadership position, but occasionally this will work out.

But more often that not, you’re going to need to go looking for them.

So, how do you identify leaders?

Here are four areas I look at.

  1. Potential

I’m learning that potential can be deceiving, but it’s still a good place to start. Anyone who you’re looking at as a leader should show signs of potential. Just don’t forget that potential is something inside someone that has yet to be realized. And as I’ve learned too many times now, it may never be realized. So, I make sure it’s combined with some other P’s.

  1. Passion

There are a lot of people who have great potential, but no passion for ministry. It can be one of the most frustrating parts of church leadership. A potential leader must have a passion for ministry. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time. Still potential and passion alone, aren’t enough.

  1. Patterns

You really start to learn who a person is when you start looking at the patterns in their life. Do they have a habit of being lazy? Are they always showing up late? Do they spend hours playing video games but can’t find the time to read their Bible? You get the idea. Don’t get me wrong people can break patterns. You just don’t want to bet your ministry on it.

  1. Perseverance

This is an added bonus, but I’m really starting to see the value in people who stick. This is people who have been serving in ministry for a long time and continue to sign up year after year. Right now in ministry it seems as though people are much more likely to burn out rather than stick it out. And I don’t want to make light of burnout because I know it’s a real thing, but you shouldn’t be burning out when you’re serving once or twice a month. That’s a copout, not a burnout.

So, if you’re looking for leaders, look for the four P’s: Potential, Passion, Patterns, and Perseverance.

What would you add to this list? Am I asking for too much? Let me know by leaving a comment and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.