Has your campus growth stalled out?
Have you launched a few locations but they aren’t reaching the community in the way that you’d like?
Are you wondering why your campuses aren’t growing as large as your initial location?
In a recent study of the multisite church movement, Leadership Network found that the normative multisite church experience is that one campus accounts for the majority of church attendance. In fact, the data shows that, on average, one campus draws the largest crowds and accounts for 63% of the overall church attendance. While this is an important fact to keep in mind when benchmarking your church against the broader movement, there are some tactics you can employ to encourage your campuses to grow and reach more people.
In my book and video course, Church Growth Flywheel, I explore the fact that the key factor for fast-growing churches is that growing churches create a vibrant invite culture where people are regularly encouraged to invite their friends.
Growing churches are filled with people who frequently reach out to others and ask them to come to church. If your campus is going to grow, you need to get your people involved in the mission! Here are three ways you could increase the invite culture at your church:
Leverage Regular Launch Cycles
Hopefully, your church is regularly launching new campuses. This provides an incredible opportunity to also see growth at your existing campuses.
Often when a new campus is opened, there is increased communication in the church about the new launch. The church will celebrate milestones towards the launch, rally new volunteers to join the launch team, distribute promotional material in the community, and plan programming to help the new campus be as highly “inviteable” as possible. Take advantage of all those opportunities!
- Increase Your Volunteer Core // Healthy campuses are filled with lots of volunteers. Leverage the launch of the new location to raise up new leaders at your campus. Encourage your people to either go and help launch the new location or stay where they are and make that campus healthier. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage new groups of people in service.
- Double Up on Promotional Material // Chances are you are investing in some sort of marketing for the launch of the new campus. The expensive part of that process is the strategy and planning piece. Use that same strategy to reintroduce your community to your existing campuses. You could even do a “grand re-opening” celebration around a milestone anniversary like five years!
- Series Promotion // No doubt your church will host a “homerun series” with content that is guaranteed to get your people inviting others. Don’t miss the opportunity to go above and beyond with invite tools for this series at every campus. Develop invite cards and shareable social media content for your people to distribute and share. Countdown to the launch of the series so people know exactly when to invite their friends. Ask them who they are inviting in the weeks leading up to the series launch. Spend time publicly praying that God would draw people to the church for this special series.
Big Days Make a Big Deal
There are three or four days every year where you will see a spike in attendance at your campuses. It’s on these “big days” that two things happen: Your people are more likely to invite their friends, and these friends are more likely to attend.
Make sure that you encourage your people to invite their friends on these big days. These few weekends during the year represent a disproportionate opportunity to increase the invite culture at your campus. Understanding this opportunity and deploying a simple strategy to encourage your people to invite others will result in a huge bump in attendance over time.
In most churches, the two biggest days are Christmas and Easter. However, understanding what the third and fourth biggest days are for your church is important for you as a campus leader. Often times Mother’s Day is one of those days. Sometimes it’s the Sunday after the time change in the fall. The first thing you need to do is identify what those big days are.
Once you’ve identified the big days, you should rally your campus leadership team around these days to encourage your people to invite their friends. Find something to add to your services on these weekends that will draw interest. Add a photo booth to your Christmas Eve services and encourage your people to bring the entire family to take a picture at the service. Do an Easter egg hunt during your Easter weekend services and open up a special area for kids who bring friends to collect even more eggs from! Let people know that you’ll be drawing for a special “Ultimate Mom’s Getaway Weekend” at your Mother’s Day service. Throw a fun “pajama sleep-in party” for your kid’s ministry that encourages your church’s families to invite their kids’ friends to sleepover at their place and then meet the parents at church the next morning.
Community Service Gets People Talking
The church is best understood as a local gathering of people making a difference in its community. People love being a part of a church that positively impacts the town or region in which they live.
When you look at most of the fastest-growing multisite churches in the country, they regularly get people out of their seats and onto the streets to make a difference. These churches deeply believe in putting faith into action and mobilizing their people to make a difference in the community.
Community service days are great tools for growth because loving the people around us in a tangible manner is not only what we are called to do, but it builds connection. People love telling others about these kinds of opportunities and movements happening in their church, and campuses grow when your people talk to their friends about what the church is up to.
Here are some examples of community service opportunities you could engage with at your campus:
- Park Clean Ups // Next spring you could mobilize a group of people from the church to get out and get the local parks ready for spring.
- Extreme Makeovers // Remember that old reality TV show that would makeover a house in a few days? You could do the same thing with a non-profit partner in town.
- 5K for …? // What cause captures the imagination of the people in your community? Mobilize your church to run and raise some funds for it!
- Free Market // Flea markets are about selling junk for a high price. Free markets are about giving away your best stuff to people in need in your community.
Get the FREE three-part video series designed to help your church launch more multisite campuses.
Is your church thinking about launching new multisite campuses? Have you already launched a campus or two but are stuck getting the next locations launched? Are you ready to take the next steps in your multisite expansion but aren’t sure where to start?
I’m releasing a FREE three-part video series designed to help your church reach more people through multisite church expansion. The lessons in this series come from my practical experience of being in the driver’s seat for 13 launches and from helping other churches like yours! Here is what we’ll be covering in the free video series:
- Video #1: The Biggest Mistake Churches Make When Launching Campuses. Build an approach to launching locations that avoids this mistake, and your church will scale up to reach more people!
- Video #2: Keys to Picking a Great Location for Your Next Campus. Apply the lessons in this video and you’ll find effective locations that will aid your church’s growth for years to come!
- Video #3: 5 Dirty Secrets of the Multisite Church Movement. Finally, get an insider’s look at the underbelly of this movement to better inform your leadership as you move forward!