Getting ready for Holy Week 2015

Lent and Easter is such a busy time in the worship life of the Church! But it’s also a fantastic time for outreach. Easter is a holiday when unchurched people are likely to come to worship for the first time. Don’t forget to make use of all your resources to invite your prospects to worship with you on Easter.

Here are a few outreach items we’re working on here at Faith, Sharpsburg, during this week before Holy Week. Can you try any of these in your congregation? Can you expand any current efforts? These examples are offered for your consideration:

  1. Preschool. All the families are given printed invitations to Easter Sunday during their spring parties on the week before Holy Week. Tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday we scheduled parties for the preschool during the school day. These parties give us a chance to eat lunch and spend some time with all the preschool parents. The goal of these parties is to invite the parents to join us at Easter services. It’s great opportunity for outreach.
  2. Prospect List. The mailer inviting our prospect list hits mailboxes on Thursday. All 950 of our active prospects get a postcard inviting them to join us for Easter worship.
  3. Social Media blast. We are hitting Facebook with branded ads that connect to the prospect and community mailing (see #4). Boosting your post will greatly increase the number of people seeing it. Getting your folks to share it with their network is a benefit because it comes from a trusted source.
  4. Community Mailing. At last week’s Lenten Dinner and Devotion, we had the whole group count and sort postcards for us. We were able to get a mailing for our whole target area prepared in just about 15 minutes. Many hands make light work, and everyone got to be part of the outreach effort. That whole-target-area mailing will be delivered on Monday of Holy Week. Every home in our zip code will be invited to Easter with 14,000 mailed invitations. I have found that most prospects don’t plan ahead for worship.
  5. Congregational Canvass. After church this past Sunday, we invited the whole congregation to stuff invitations into door hangers to be used in our congregational canvass. We stuffed 1300 doorhangers in less than ten minutes. We will be doing a “no talking necessary, no training necessary” canvass this week. It’s just hanging up doorhangers. But we expect 70 people to come. It’s a great way to invite the community and it’s a great way to have people involved in outreach who might not think they have the gifts for it. Even better, it makes a large group of people very interested in the work the Holy Spirit might do in bringing people to church on Easter Sunday.
  6. Personal invitations. Finally, Vicar Caleb Schultz and I are also attempting to make personal invitations to our group of “most interested” prospects. This is our shortlist of about sixty families that we are trying to move toward enrollment in our next BIC. We simply stop by their house with a printed invitation. If they answer, we invite them to Easter services; if they don’t, we just leave the invitation with a personal note. This year I am playing with Geopointe for Salesforce. It’s a software add-on that allows you to build routed maps to for all your prospect calls. It also shows you prospects nearby. For example, last night I was on outreach calls and after visiting four homes, I realized I had more time before sundown. I just pulled out my phone and the Geopointe salesforce app showed me a number of hot prospects near to my location. Very cool.
  7. Don’t forget to enlist your congregational network of friends and neighbors. We will be sending an email to the congregation talking about the privilege of witnessing and encouraging them to invite their friends and neighbors to Easter services.

Such a busy time for worship and outreach. May God bless your efforts at both!

Rev. Jonathan E. Schroeder

Jonathan Schroeder is the pastor of Faith Lutheran in Sharpsburg, GA. He serves as the Moderator of the Institute of Worship and Outreach, pastor-at-large on the Synodical Council, and is actively involved in WELS School of Outreach and WELS School of Worship.

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