Get Your Message Further: Church Advertising Tips to Expand Your Parish
As the world and its politics become more and more divisive, churches become an even more important place for people to come together as a community. However, not everyone knows they even have a local parish to be part of, or else don’t know how to join one. That’s why it’s essential that churches take the time to market themselves to their community. These church advertising tips are curated to help you get the visibility you need to grow your numbers, spread your message, and build faith in your community.
What Are People Looking For in a Church?
Before you start advertising your parish, consider what about your parish do you have to advertise? Knowing what people are looking for in a local church will not only help make your church more attractive to newcomers, but it will help you figure out what aspects of your church to highlight when advertising. Here are some tips on what church goers (especially Millennials and Gen Z) are looking for.
Inclusiveness: Creating a community of inclusiveness is very important to many Christians today, especially for those who may otherwise have felt excluded in the past. Parishes that take extra steps to embrace their LGBTQ+ community, as well as immigrants and other minorities, will be very appealing to a progressive congregation.
Community Services: What are you doing to help build up your community? Offering services like childcare, youth activities, English classes, and more can not only attract newcomers, but increase community engagement with your parish. Even something small like a monthly babysitting night for parents to go out can go a long way for your congregation.
A Sense of Community: More than just services, most people love their parish for the sense of community it offers. Coming together, even just once a week on Sunday, affords your community a chance to meet, talk, and build relationships, so make sure you’re encouraging those interactions in your congregation.
Charity Opportunities: People who attend church regularly are more likely to want to help their community. Anything from soup kitchens to making blankets for babies can help give your congregation the chance to do unto others within their community.
A Spiritual Experience: Don’t forget the number one attraction! Make your Sunday sessions full of spiritual power with beautiful music, uplifting sermons, and a deep dive into scripture that comes through prayerful study and preparation.
Free Marketing Ideas for Churches
Got no budget? No problem! There are so many ways you can gain visibility in your community for little to no money. Here are just a few ideas for free church advertising:
Potluck: Can’t foot the bill? Let your existing congregation bring the crowds with their own delicious dishes! Rent out space in your local park and host an outdoor potluck that anyone can come and join in.
Social Media: All anyone needs for a booming social media page is a smart phone or a computer. Post pictures of your chapel, your congregation, your activities, or even just your scripture of the week. Want more post ideas? Check out this fun article by The Creative Pastor.
Local SEO: Make your church easy to search for online! Find your location on Google maps and other map services, then register your “business” at that location. This is important if you want to come up in search results for your area.
Create a Website: Everyone needs a website, and you can easily find a free service to host your website for you. Need help optimizing your website for SEO? Check out this article by Michigan Tech University to help you with the basics!
Paid Marketing Ideas for Churches
Of course, having at least a little money will help expand your marketing options. If you’ve got a budget to work with, here are some effective options to invest in:
Host an Open House: Got your own chapel? Show it off to the community with a stylish open house! Light on the budget, all you really need to pull this off are some flowers for decoration tastefully placed around, plus catering for snacks.
Paid Ads: You don’t need to film your own video advertisement to get your message seen (though doing your own Youtube video never hurts!) Make your own social media and Google ads with any free photo editing software, then pay whatever your budget allows to spread it around.
Flyers: Made online ads? Re-use that beautiful design work and make some classic paper flyers to pass out! Ask your congregation to share the flyers among friends, or go door-to-door with door hangers. You can also check out our other blog post on door-to-door marketing for more tips!
Giveaways: Everyone loves free stuff, and it’s even better when it comes from your parish! Scripture highlighters, journals, keychains, and more make the perfect giveaways for any parish. Giveaways will help both with bringing people back and creating conversation starters with future attendees.
Take Your Sermon Outside: Don’t restrict your teachings to the chapel, host an extra session where the people are! I’m not talking about a soap box on a street, either. I’m talking about renting event space at a local restaurant or other venue where you and your congregation will be a little more visible.
How to Grow Your Church Through Parish Engagement
Have a large Parish but low Sunday attendance? Are you looking to keep your congregation engaged outside of Sunday services? Here are a few ways you can keep your congregation active to maintain and grow the number of sheep you’ve got.
Livestream Services: Whether it’s health concerns or just feeling shy, there are a lot of reasons people won’t come to Sunday services despite their interest in your sermons. Livestream your services for free on Youtube or other sites so everyone can hear your message. You can also leave your videos up for others to watch later as free advertising.
Scripture Highlights: Whether through text chains or social media, sharing a weekly scripture can help keep the Spirit (and your sermons) top of mind with your congregation all week long. You can have visitors like and subscribe to your highlights, or sign up for emails.
Participation Prizes: Need more choir members? Need help putting together a holiday event? Participation gifts and giveaways, even if it’s just snacks, can be a great motivator for people who are otherwise “too busy.”
After-Service Activities: After Sunday services, keep everyone together and mingling with an after-service activity. Head to the park for a bring-your-own lunch while the kids play, gather in the chapel in groups for scripture study sessions, or just have quiet organ music play while everyone lingers and mingles.
Church Giveaway Ideas for Advertising
Want to give your congregation something to share with friends, or need something nice to give to your choir? Whatever your needs, here are some great church advertising giveaways that will spread the word and promote your parish:
A pen, and a highlighter in one, this pen is perfect for scripture study. With this stylish pen, your congregation can highlight key scriptures, make notes in their journal or in the margins, and even use the included stylus tip to do it all with virtual scriptures! Imprint with your own parish logo, your website, and an insightful scripture (we recommend Psalm 119:15.)
Perfect for thoughtful reflection during sermons or scripture study, these lovely notebooks come in reverent colors and matching ribbon bookmark. Your recipients will be able to feel the quality in the covers with our soft touch finish that feels like satin. Need a good scripture to imprint on the cover? We recommend Philippians 4:8.
Light the way for your congregation with a stylish keychain light. A popular giveaway and a useful tool, these flashlight keychains will remind your congregation of the true light in their lives every time they use it. Scriptures like John 8:12, Matthew 5:16, Psalm 119:105, and so many more can be imprinted on the top to make these flashlights the perfect church giveaway.
Advertising is about more than just getting people in the door. Effective church advertising works both to let people know you’re there and give them every reason to stay. Don’t just focus on the sheep wandering outside your fences; make sure the sheep you have are getting the love they need to thrive in your parish. Word of mouth is a powerful advertiser, and a happy flock is sure to grow with a little help from your online and offline advertising efforts.
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