Every Monday I post one of The Basics. The Basics are simple steps every church can take to grow. They are the same steps that led my church from 87 people in attendance to over 700. These steps have helped my church see hundreds of people saved and baptized in just a few short years. Most of these steps you can take this week without even having a board meeting. These are The Basics.
Over the past nine years, my church has given away over 65,000 glazed doughnuts. Why? Because people love free stuff.
McDonalds serves free coffee. Kids eat free at the IHOP. And millions of people join Amazon Prime to get free shipping, free music, free movies and more.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking? You don’t want to bribe people with free stuff in order to get them to your church. That’s fine, but let me ask you this question. In the Gospels, did people follow Jesus for what they could do for Him or for what He could do for them? Initially, it was always about what they could get from Jesus.
I believe Jesus was ok with this because He knew that would change over time. As people spend time with Jesus, we see them change from someone who is looking to be served, to someone who is becoming a servant.
With that in mind, here are 4 things we give away at my church in order to entice guests to spend more time with Jesus.
Coffee – Depending on what survey you look at, between 60-80% of Americans drink coffee, and most of the coffee consumption takes place during the hours your church is meeting. Providing coffee for your guests promotes fellowship, brings energy to the room, and keeps people from yawning through your service.
Doughnuts – Families with young children struggle to get to church on time. By providing doughnuts or some other food option, they don’t have to worry about missing breakfast because you’ve got them covered. What we’ve seen in our small town is many families struggle to put food on the table each week, so this may be the only breakfast they’re able to get.
Bible – Living in the Bible Belt I’m constantly surprised at how many people do not have a Bible in their homes. We make the announcement each week, that if you don’t have a Bible, we’d love to give you one. You can find the Bible we give away here. It’s a great Bible for those just getting started with their faith.
First-Time Guest Gift – If someone visits our church for the first time, we want to know about it. One of the ways we make sure we get their information is offering them a free gift. We’ve offered a variety of gifts over the years, but the two we give away most are coffee mugs in the fall and winter and water bottles in the spring and summer. Make sure you spend the money to have these items personalized with your church logo and information, that way any time someone uses them, they’re reminded of your church.
All four of these things come with a cost, but I believe not being generous comes with a greater cost.
Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous will prosper, those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
We’ve certainly seen this within our church, and I believe you will be amazed by the difference you’ll see in your church when you start to give things away.
What do you give away to guests at your church? Do you believe the benefits outweigh the costs?