How to Grow a Church Through Online Church Outreach

Do you have a church that is looking to grow?  Is your church struggling to reach new people or perhaps you church is doing pretty well, but you want to be reaching as many people as possible with the Gospel.  The Internet provides a great opportunity for churches to reach and connect with new people like never before.

In this video we’ll talk about several ways churches can be growing through online church outreach:

Full Transcript:

Hi, I’m Kurt Steinbrueck with OurChurch.Com.  In this video I’m going to tell you how you can be growing your church through online outreach and online church marketing.

Now, a lot of churches focus on the offline.  They are looking for ways to either bring people in by having events at the church or by sending their people out in service projects or evangelistic projects and things like that.  And that’s very important.  The church needs to keep doing that.  We need to have that personal face-to-face time, but our society is becoming more and more connected to the Internet.

It wasn’t long ago that we all started to get computers in our houses and we were connected to this crazy thing called the Internet, right?  Then we got laptops and we could start moving around.  Now, everyone’s got a smartphone or a tablet and they are constantly connected to the Internet.  And that gives us a great opportunity in the church.  The Internet is just a great tool for us to be able to reach out to people and to connect with people who we might not be able to, as easily at least, in the real world.  And, of course, then that means we can then bring them into the church.  So, we’re not talking about just an online ministry.  We’re talking about using the Internet to reach out to people and connect with them so that then we can into the church, in person, and then connect with them there…in person.

So, how do we do that?

Build a Website
Well, the first thing is that you’re going to need a website.  Hopefully, you have one, most churches do at this point, thankfully.  But if you don’t, you need to go create at least is the basic website. It’s not very expensive and there’s a lot of tools out there that can make it very easy to at least have some presence online where you can see your address in your meeting times and things like that.

Search Engine Optimization
Now, of course, once you have your website you want people to be able to find your website. So, when someone goes to the search engines and they search for a church in your town, you want them to find your church. So, you can do that by doing some search engine optimization techniques to help you to get high rankings in the search engines. I can’t go into all the details about that (we actually have some other videos that talk about that), but that’s something you will look to do it. It’s basically just putting things on your website that tell the search engines what your site is about, that you’re a church and what your main ministries are, and then helping to get other websites to link to you so that you so that you are a site of value.

Local Listings
And then, in addition to doing just the basic search engine optimization, as a local organization you want to get listed in the local listing sites. Now, these are sites like Yelp or Citysearch or even Google+ local and Google maps and things like that. So, you want to get listed in these sites because people go to those places as well to try to find local information like a church.

Online Reviews
Now, one of the neat things about the local listing sites is that a lot of them also have the feature where people can post reviews. So, anyone who’s experienced something with a  company or church can go post about that experience that they had. A lot of churches think this is just for businesses or this is just for products and services.

No! This is something that churches need to be doing as well because people look to those reviews when they’re looking for a church just as much as they do when they’re looking for a restaurant or some other place to go. So, you want to be able to show people that things are going on at  your church.  Because if you go to a listing, if you find a listing for a church and there’s nothing posted there, it kinda makes your church look a little dead, especially if there are other churches that are listed in that same area and they’ve got several reviews, that’s going to really make it look like everything is going on with these other churches and not much is going on in your church.

You want to make sure that you’re getting positive reviews and you can do that just by asking your members, “When you go home today. go post something about your experience here at the church on Yelp or on Google or wherever.” So, you can have your members doing that.

The other advantage to this is that it really can affect people in their choice to come visit your church.  Now’s here’s what we’re talking about, bringing them from the online world to the off-line world, bringing them into your church. When they are seeing all the exciting things that are going on your church, the way God is working people’s lives at your church because they are posting it there in those reviews, that’s going to get them excited.  It’s going to make them want to be a part of that. So, that makes it more likely that they are going to go and show up at your church.

Blog
What are some other ways that you can reach out people? I would encourage every church to have a blog. Blogs are basically just ways that you can post articles and videos and other types of content and it can distribute that people and it’s just an easy way to coordinate all of that. You want to have a blog so that you can help to stay in contact with your own numbers by sinding out updates and event announcements and things like that, but also so that you can put out content that people who are not yet members of your church might be interested in. That may be answering questions, like theological questions or life questions, or putting out some other kind of information that people would want to find.

Video
In addition to blogging, I would encourage you to consider video. There’s a lot of great things about video and it is getting cheap to be able to do it and it’s not that hard. I mean, what I’m using, right here, for this video didn’t cost me all that much.  I’m not using a $10,000 camera. This is just a decent WebCam and microphone.

It didn’t cost that much, but to look at the interaction were able to have here. As opposed to reading an article where it’s just text on page, here you’re able to see me. You’re able to hear my voice. You’re able to get a sense for my personality.  There’s a connection that we’re forming here that we wouldn’t get through text. If I ran into on the street, you would kind of feel like you know me already. I have actually heard that from people who called us at OurChurch.Com.  They’re like, “Man, I feel like I know. I’ve been watching your videos for the past couple weeks.”

So, you can create that connection with people before they ever even come in your church. Then when they do come to your church, they feel like they already know you. And if you’re posting things from other people in your church, like member testimonials and things like that, then they are going to feel like they know a lot of the people in the church.  They are looking around are seeing familiar faces.

You can also do things like your church tours or “here’s what to expect that our church when you come to worship here”, things like that. Also, things like answering questions and all that like we talk about with the blog. You can do that in a video format.

Facebook
In addition to video what are some of the things that you can do? I would encourage you to look into Facebook. Facebook is really good both for connecting with people through your members and also for advertising. So, your you want to encourage your members to connect with people through Facebook and then give them things to share from the church with their friends in Facebook and encourage them to let their friends know about events and things like that coming up.

You can also use Facebook ads to target the people in your specific area idea for events or just to let them know that the church is there…whatever you want to do.  They have a really great ability to target things.

Local Advertising
The last thing I want to mention is just local advertising. You may have members in your church even who have businesses or organizations that are in the local area and they probably have websites. So, just asked them, “Would you mind putting a little banner ad or a link to the church…” or something like that. So that people when they go to their site, they can see something about the church and be made aware of your church being there or maybe an event that is coming up or something like that.

So, those are some of the ways that you can be reaching out to people online, again to connect with them and to be able to create that connection and then bring them into the church for a real life, real world connection.

We’d Love to Help
Now, at OurChurch.Com we offer services that can help you to do that. So, if you’d be interested in our helping you to do this, please send us an email at support@OurChurch.Com or you can go to our website, OurChurch.Com, and go into the Seo section and you can find information there. You can also request a free, no-obligation consultation and we’ll be in touch with you to tell you about the ways that we can help you to reach out to people and grow your church through online outreach.

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Kurt Steinbrueck is the Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.Com. He also serves on the leadership of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL. You can find him on Google+ as .

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