#1 Most Effective Strategy to Boost Church Engagement [2023]

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Is your congregation just going through the motions of attending every Sunday, without getting involved in your ministry? 

If this sounds like your audience, you’re going to love this post where we explain how to boost church engagement and get your audience more excited about your ministry’s calling. 

Let’s jump right in. 

Church Engagement Strategy #1: Get Your Audience To Have A Singular Focus

In order to increase your church’s engagement in your ministry, you must first understand what people get passionate about. 

God designed people to get passionate about individual, specific things. Human consciousness can only focus on one thing at a time. The idea of multitasking has been completely disproven in studies. Multitasking is when your brain rapidly switches back and forth between multiple singular points of focus. It has also been shown that productivity decreases dramatically when someone is multitasking. 

The same is true with your ministry. People can’t get passionate about everything at once or even a few things at once. Your audience can’t get passionate about things that are too vague or overly broad.

Unless your ministry has a clear focus, you are working AGAINST the grain of human nature.

church engagement

When presented with an unclear ministry purpose, the weak connection your audience feels to that purpose is overwhelmed by the amount of effort required to participate. 

When your audience feels that the effort to participate outweighs the sense of purpose for doing so, your church will become disengaged. 

The passion and purpose your audience feels to engage with your church must be greater than the reasons they have not to engage.

Begin by making the purpose of your church very clear and specific so your audience doesn’t have to try to clarify this for you. 

Missions Week At A Multisite Church

Here is a great example of this issue from one of the ministries we serve.

One of the ministries we serve dedicated a missions team to minister at a local school for a week. The pastor wanted to get his church audience to help him minister to the school’s youth. Which of these options do you think his congregation would be more excited about?

“We’re going to do ministry and reach our community for Jesus, everyone should come on Saturday!”

OR

“Hey Team, I was recently given office hours in a secular middle school. I  received permission to create an after-school program, take kids to a Christian camp, and bring missions teams to the school. Come, help clean up this inner-city school and give these kids a better shot at life.”

church engagement

If you felt the second option was more convincing, you would be correct.

In fact, the other five campuses at this church felt so strongly about the picture that the pastor painted for them that each campus pastor redirected their missions teams to support the ministry effort to the school. 

Not only did church engagement increase with this event, but the other pastors at this multisite church felt compelled to engage as well! The other pastors were more moved by the vision about this school than they were of their own missions week outreach projects. 

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When you help people to clearly see what they are going to do and why it’s so important, they suddenly become motivated.

This ministry gave people a clear vision, and a powerful purpose. Together, this created passion to take action among the church’s audience – and the church’s staff. 

Clear Vision + Power Purpose = Passion for Action

Church Engagement Strategy #2: Build A Vision That Inspires Audience Ownership 

But how do you create a vision that your audience is willing to own, and act on with you and your leadership team?

Churchgoers can’t relate to broad and nonspecific terms like “ministry”, “reaching everyone”, “going to the lost” or “reaching the world”. 

Don’t go to everyone you say? 

Didn’t Jesus command us to go unto all the world?

In Mark 16:15, Jesus told His disciples,

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

church engagement

Pastors often believe this verse means their church has to appeal to EVERYONE and “go into all the world”. However, Jesus was not referring to individual churches when He said this, He was talking to the (Capital C) Church.

In the passage Jesus was talking to the disciples, who at that time were all the leaders of the Church. Contextually, the command was given to the Church as a whole, not the individual church leaders.

As we know, each individual is a member of the Body of Christ, and each person has their part to play in bringing the Gospel to the world.

“But in fact, God has arranged the members of the body, every one of them, according to His design. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

1 Corinthians 12:21

This also applies to individual churches because no one church can be the whole Body of Christ. So your church is also one member of the Body Of Christ and CANNOT go to everyone everywhere.

Even though Jesus gave His Church an ambitious goal, it is not the responsibility of each church to achieve it all but rather to maximize what they do best

Although people can’t be inspired by general goals, they will relate with specific things like these: 

  • The elderly at the homes up the street with no family
  • Single moms who feel alone and like they’re drowning
  • People who are suffering through the loss of a loved one

Only after you clarify to whom you will be going and the exact reason why your are going to them will your audience begin to accept ownership in your ministry. 

If you want to learn how to create a church vision, you’ll love this post: Church Vision Statement: How To Discover & Write A Powerful Church Vision.

Targeted Audiences In The Bible

Paul’s can be seen targeting a specific group of people in a specific location and created a powerful ministry that reached his targeted audience. 

He did not target the Jews and the Gentiles, but he focused on the Gentiles alone to maximize his impact. 

Paul also addressed his letters to specific churches. Fox example, Galatians was written to the church in Galatia, and because He addressed them personally his message became much more powerful to them. 

church engagement

Even Jesus Himself didn’t go to every nation, but instead He only ministered in Israel, with the understanding that His followers would spread the Gospel to the rest of the world for him.  

Like Jesus and the Apostles, you must know your church target audience and give them a specific vision according to God’s calling. Your church’s vision can’t be broad, it needs to be specific.

Answer these questions about who you are going to target with your ministry: 

WHO are they?

WHAT is their biggest challenge/problem/need?

WHEN does this problem affect them the most?

WHERE are they when they struggle with this need?

WHY do they struggle with this need?

HOW are you going to go to them and serve them?

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The Consequences Of Clear Church Vision

When you clarify the purpose and calling of your ministry, you should also be prepared for some of your audience to disengage.

That is because anytime you set a specific vision for your ministry, it rules out the things that other people might be passionate about. 

For example: If somebody came to your church prior to you clarifying the calling of your ministry, they could have assumed your church to be doing whatever they love too, because you weren’t clear – and neither were they. This person may be passionate about helping the homeless but your church sets vision for missions, that person may begin to phase themselves out of your ministry.

While this sounds frightening, you should still create clarity for your churchgoers. The people who feel inspired to go to the homeless should be with a church who can use their passion to their fullest potential, and that may not be your church.

Not only this, but even if this person stays with your ministry, they will never feel as deeply compelled to engage with a missions church as they would with a homeless church. This means you will continue to lack engagement from your audience. 

When you clarify the calling, and mission of your ministry, some people will become incredibly inspired and motivated, and others will phase themselves out. AND THIS IS GOOD.

If you want to create a church mission, you’ll love this blog: Church Mission Statement: How To Find And Write A Powerful Church Mission.

Church Growth in the Long Run

Once you begin focusing your ministry around this single vision, the people who are passionate about it will bring in other like-minded people who are also passionate about it, because you are meeting their need to make a difference. 

Only after this full transition process will you find that you have a highly motivated audience who takes ownership of your ministry’s mission and vision. 

But you can only achieve this by boldly choosing to stand for something specific.

This will help attract only the people who are interested in what God has called you to do, but you must also be patient to see the fruit that will result from this shift. 

That about wraps it up for this post on church engagement. 

If you enjoyed this article, you will love the church marketing strategy in the video below:

On a scale of 1-10, how clear do you feel the mission and vision of your ministry are to your audience? Why do you think this? 

Let us know in the comments!

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