If you listen to most voices, the common refrain today is that the American church is on the decline. We hear of millennials leaving in droves, established denominations losing members, and churches closing their doors. Though there are certainly some alarming trends that need addressed, trends we have highlighted in our own blogs, there is also some good news. Or, as Mark Twain famously remarked, “the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”.
This is certainly true for the American church.
Recently, Lifeway Research released a study based on information provided by 34 denominational statisticians. Though there were 3,700 Protestant churches that closed in 2014, there were also 4,000 new churches that opened. And instead of siphoning members from the surrounding congregations, these churches are successfully drawing a significant number of attendees who were either previously unchurched for many years or completely unchurched.
Additionally, new, growing churches have adapted their outreach approach to more effectively reach their communities. And though the study shows that they use some conventional marketing methods such as door hangers, roadside signs, print ads, and mailers, they also report that their most effective publicity comes from another source: their congregation.
We can’t deny that a presence on social media and in traditional media is important to publically promote a new church, interact with current members, or update a community on a church’s current events. However, according to this particular study, church planters report that the most successful form of publicity in attracting new members is through personal relationships and word of mouth.
This statistic is very encouraging to us, and we hope it prompts you to consider becoming a Pure Flix Alliance Partner.
And here’s why.
At Pure Flix, we regularly hear from our Alliance partners about the effectiveness of their Church Movie Night ministry. We also hear about the impact experienced when their church members and guests attend a film at the local theater. Since media and entertainment are such important aspects of our society and how we connect with one another, this is not a surprise to us. In fact, according to successful church planters surveyed in for this study, offering social gatherings is a strategy they share. This gives church members (a church’s most effective promoters) another opportunity to invite friends, family and acquaintances to attend with them.
To learn more about these and other creative outreach strategies, please visit us at pureflixalliance.com. We would love to connect with you!