It’s wonderful to see our churches full and filled with joy and music during the holidays. And every year we miss the opportunity to keep those holiday-only church members coming back. We may not be able to get them to come all the time, but we can certainly help them stay connected and let them know what they are missing out on.
Here are some tips for engaging your holiday-only church attenders:
- Ask every church member, especially the ones who come only during the holidays, to like your church’s Facebook page. Give them time and permission in the beginning and before the end of the service to take out their smart phones, go to the church’s Facebook page, and like it. Have signage throughout the church to like the church’s FB page and printed on any handouts. *Consider having a contest that links Likes to the church’s FB page. For example, announce that Mr. & Mrs. Brown will contribute $100.00 to a specific church-related mission project if we reach 100 Likes by the end of the day.
- Identify influencers (members who have personal relationships with groups of people in your church) in your church. Ask those influencers to connect with those who do not come to church frequently, and also to help develop informal/social groups (like book clubs, play groups, dads and moms groups) so information and activities about the church get to those who don’t know about them through more traditional church communications. This helps those who don’t often attend worship services still feel connected to the church. Encourage your influencers to invite infrequent attendees to come more often, share church events (setting up Facebook Events through your church’s Facebook Page makes this easy), or at least let them know they are missed.
- Ask holiday attendees for updated contact information, email, and cell numbers. Give them a card to fill out at each holiday service. *Consider offering something in exchange for their filled-out card, such as a special laminated prayer card that they can keep and refer to in their everyday life, or a hard copy of a photo volunteers take of them and their family before or after the holiday service. Make sure they know that all information collected is held in strict confidence and is for sending church-related updates only.
- Plan ahead. Make sure your church schedule and upcoming relevant events/activities are posted at your holiday services to bring people back after the holidays. Ask all church members, and especially those who aren’t frequent churchgoers, for RSVPs to collect contact info and to ensure they have a reason to come back.
- Offer online help, inspiration and professional advice every day through Facebook posts, and be sure your posts are mobile friendly. For example, is your child sick today and you had to call out of work? Here’s a prayer. Or, remember to insulate your outdoor faucets for the winter (picture of youth members wrapping up outdoor facets for senior members.) Provide a simple prayer/thought of the day/an image that reassures them about everyday concerns.
- Highlight and thank individuals on your church’s Facebook page for their service and help. Make it inspirational and include photos so people will share it. For example, show a picture of a youth member bringing food to a homebound member along with a great big thank you for their help.
- Use social media to highlight what makes your church special with pictures and short videos. Does your church have a great music program? A quilters club, a book club, or Tai Chi club? Show it to the world and use it to get your holiday-only churchgoers to come to church more often.
Do your holiday-only churchgoers know all the things that happen at church when they aren’t there? Give them a reason to show up or at least keep them informed and connected to their church that misses them the rest of the year. Start with one idea from the list above and build from there.
Need help? Please reach out to us. we help many churches put in place strategies just like these to build attendance and contributions. Some of these can be set up in a few days, and then you’ll have these strategies in place before your holiday churchgoers arrive this year.