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By Jonathan Howe

Leading up to Resurrection Sunday, we posted a few articles on how churches could use online tools to invite those in the community to celebrate with them for Easter. From Facebook ads and boosting posts, to special graphics and specific hashtags, online promotion for churches was greater this Easter than ever before.

This week, we took a quick Twitter poll to see what worked and what didn’t for churches. We didn’t limit the survey to online promotion only, though. Because while many churches saw great success with online promotion, personal interaction is still the most effective way of inviting someone to church. The results proved both points.

What Worked for Churches

  1. Personal Invites. Several churches used small printed materials (business card or postcard size) to encourage members to invite their friends, neighbors, and coworkers to Easter services. Personal invites were the most common ways churches promoted their Easter weekend services.
  2. Facebook Promotion. Churches boosted posts, created and shared events, and purchased Facebook ads. With the few exceptions of very limited budgets and run time, Facebook promotion was hugely successful. If your church is not using Facebook to promote major events, you are missing a great opportunity.
  3. Coordinated Graphics. Several churches encouraged staff and members to use their Easter graphic as their avatar on social media. This subtle change in visuals created interest and gave an opening for staff and members to begin gospel conversations with friends.
  4. Door-to-door Invites. A variation of this is in the “What Didn’t Work” section below. The key to the success of these door-to-door invites was the personal conversations and invites.
  5. Intentional, Strategic Planning. We heard from several churches that had been planning their Easter outreach for months. They had a plan leading up to Easter and one for follow-up after Easter. For more on guest follow-up, see our recent post and podcast on the subject.
  6. Prayer. This response was most encouraging. Churches participated in prayer walks, set up special prayer teams, and prayed over the worship center the week before Easter. These prayers were answered in incredible ways.

What Did Not Work for Churches

  1. Door-to-door Drop-offs. Many churches canvassed neighborhoods or the area around their church building. Instead of talking to the residents, they simply dropped off invite cards or door hangers. This impersonal approach was overwhelmingly unsuccessful. Few churches saw any noticeable response to just dropping off information.
  2. Extra Signage. Putting up extra signage and hoping people would read it saw little success. This should come as no surprise. We shouldn’t expect a yard sign the do the work of an evangelist.
  3. Doing Nothing. Surprisingly, several responses to the Twitter poll came back saying that the church had done nothing to promote Easter worship services. As a result, many of these churches saw no noticeable difference on Resurrection Sunday.
  4. Not Planning. Several respondents indicated that their church hadn’t planned anything until the week before or waited too long to get things started. Because of the last minute nature of the promotion, there was little to no impact made.

What Did We Learn?

  • Personal conversations are still the most effective way to invite people to attend your church worship service.
  • Online promotion is the most effective way for churches to spend dollars earmarked for marketing.
  • If your church goes door-to-door to invite people, take the time to talk to people.
  • When you strategically plan your outreach, you see greater participation and more opportunities for success.
  • Cover everything your church does in prayer. Do not rely on your own strength, but on the Spirit.

Did your church try anything else to promote its Easter or Good Friday worship services? Did you see any success in the promotions?

Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week, and the managing editor of Jonathan writes weekly at on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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