Does Your Church Have A ‘Family and Friends Day’?

I don’t really care what you call it–Family and Friends Day was what we called it in the church of my growing-up–do you have it?

The reason I’m asking the question is that I came across this fact-and-myth webpage when I was doing some research recently.

In countering the myth many liberal churches have that advertising is the way to bring in new members, the authors present these facts:

  • Fact: Many new people (47%) visit for the first time because someone invited them; only 6% came for the first time due to advertising.
  • Fact: Most new people visit between 1 and 3 congregations before choosing their new home.

While I think the percentage that the authors say come to a church for the first time due to a direct invitation is low (I think the number is well over 50%), even if you go with the 47%, that’s a big number. A number that liberal religious folk need to pay attention to.

So in your scramble to build better church websites that are inviting to newcomers, maybe you should take a different look at what really draws people in. How about inviting your next-door neighbor to come to church with you? How about having a ‘Family and Friends Day’ to introduce those people closest to you to a place that means something to you?

If 47% of people walk through the church-house door for the first time because of an invitation and only 6% come because of advertising (and yes, I’m including websites in advertising)–where should you put your time and attention?


3 thoughts on “Does Your Church Have A ‘Family and Friends Day’?

  1. It’s funny you posted this just now. I’ve just recently made the suggestion at church that we should have regular services planned for newcomers, days when we plan services which will be particularly welcoming to non-members. I think that’ll happen, but not right away. In the meantime, I’m doing a guest sermon this Sunday and I’ve:

    Posted it on Facebook, and invited my local Facebook friends to the sermon.
    Posted it on my employer’s fairly large classified ads listserv.
    Put it up on the local news blog where I’m one of a couple dozen active commenters.

    We’ve started recently tracking where we get visitors from on the little cards we ask them to fill out. I’m really anxious to see how it goes. And yet…

    …this is so easy to do at a virtual remove. It’s different from face-to-face invitations.

  2. Your post hits home. The first time I saw my former graduate school on facebook I chuckled. I’m sure the admissions director visits people and has that face to face conversation(all with good intentions, as well.) I am still left wondering how much of the human connection are people losing? The facts you post do not surprise me. Technology certainly has it’s advantages but it has disadvantages as well. I never had a “Friends and family” day during worship but most of the activities I participated in were open to friends and family.

    This is certainly part of a bigger conversation regarding how churches will survive during a time when numbers are down.

  3. The results of my self-promotion: I think two or three additional people attended. That seems awfully small for a relatively large effort.

    Friends and Family Day is a lot more personal, and I think it would do better, but I was already surprised how difficult it was to invite people impersonally. (I’m not shy.) To invite people on a “family and friends” basis would be, I think, harder, but I’m ready to try if the rest of the congregation is.

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