How To Promote Church Events: 3 Biblical Strategies You’ve NEVER Heard [2023]

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Have you been wondering how to plan church events that connect with your existing audience and attract new visitors? 

Well, you are in the right place!

In this article we will be discussing the 3 best strategies to use when considering how to promote church events:

Step 1: Meet A Deeply Felt Need

Step 2: Specify A Call To Action In Advance

Step 3: Invite The Right People

Let’s jump right in!

Here at Clickmill Marketing, church leaders ask us daily how to market their churches and church events more effectively. 

For the vast majority of churches, this is actually the wrong question. 

Why? 

Because marketing is ultimately just trash (Yes, we’re a marketing firm for churches so hang with me for a bit longer). 

Marketing a church or a church event is very similar to purchasing a candy bar. 

People initially purchase the candy bar because of the enticing wrapper (your marketing) but if they are disappointed by the taste of the candy over and over, they will ultimately resist purchasing again.

The candy bar is the substance of your church or event. The wrapper is your marketing. Ultimately, your marketing is just an outward representation of the substance inside.

For one reason or another, over the years churchgoers have bought into the church marketing and been disappointed by the substance in the church. 

Most churches don’t face marketing issues, they are trying to convince people who have lost hope in the Church to come back to church

The great news is that there is a CRAZY SIMPLE way to win them back. 

Church event marketing (and church marketing in general) should focus 100% on meeting the most deeply felt needs of their audience. This is the core of knowing how to promote church events.

STEP 1: Meet A Deeply Felt Need 

A deeply felt need is the most profound and painful need in a person’s life at any given time. 

You could also say that a deeply felt need creates a person’s biggest problem. 

Jesus had a weird habit of meeting people’s needs when He showed up on the scene. Here are 5 examples of how Jesus met deeply felt needs in scripture: 

  • Jesus provided FISH to the FISHERMAN
  • Jesus healed the SIGHT of the BLIND
  • Jesus healed the LEPROSY of the LEPERS
  • Jesus healed the LEGS of the LAME man
  • Jesus provided WINE for the WEDDING

The primary thing to recognize is that Jesus ALWAYS met the DEEPEST need of his audience. 

How disappointed would the blind man have been if Jesus accidentally healed the blind man’s lower back pain instead of his blindness? “Oops…” 

The blind man would have been full of hope at the promise of having his sight returned only to find out Jesus met the wrong need. This would have been crushing to the blind man.

Church leaders unintentionally meet the wrong need all the time when they plan events or start new ministries. 

This is often the main reason church events don’t create the results church leaders hope.

What was the consequence of Jesus meeting the DEEPEST needs of his audience? 

Let’s look at a passage from Matthew to find out: 

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them

Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” – Matthew 4:23-25

In the passage above, we find that the people are so excited that someone selflessly met their most deeply felt needs that they go running all over the country telling everyone they know to hurry up and come see what this guy (Jesus) is doing.

Then all of those people hurried over to Jesus too. And before you know it, thousands of people “followed Him”. 

To really get people’s attention, begin by shifting your attention away from marketing your church and towards meeting the needs of your audience.

When you do this correctly, your audience will do your marketing for you. 

They won’t just do it for you, they will run around like crazy people and convince (or drag) their friends to your church. (they may even dig a hole in your roof and start dropping people in).

Because Jesus focused solely on meeting people’s needs in the most powerful way possible, He never had to question things like how to promote church events. Soon you will be meeting needs so efficiently, you won’t either!

When you start focusing on meeting needs, you won’t be able to keep people away from your church and events for long. 

Success Story: A pastor we have been consulting with recently discovered that two elementary schools in his neighborhood were looking for people who could speak a specific Pacific island language. The school’s staff were not able to communicate with the families of this cultural group and the students that spoke the language had only a 7% graduation rate – from middle school.

Two of his church’s dedicated and unpaid missionaries of over 10 years were already reaching out to the very same pacific islander community. He suggested their names to the principal who hired them on the spot.

These missionaries are doing the same jobs they were doing before they were hired, and they will be paid to do it from within the secular school system, with the approval of their supervisors. 

The principal was so grateful that the pastor found a way to meet her needs, that she quickly found the elementary school principal who set a meeting with this pastor. The principal offered to hire 8 people from the church if he was able to meet other, similar needs. 

The elementary school has also asked the pastor to start a tutoring program for the students. The tutors being high school students from the multisite church’s Christian School.

They have also asked the pastor if he can connect them with other people in their church – like hip-hop teachers, drama teachers, etc. 

Finally, both secular principles also set up a time to come and view the church facility to discuss more about their future partnerships. 

UPDATE: The pastor mentioned in this story was formally given office hours at the secular public school On his first day in the office, the principal (who is not a believer) said, “what do you feel God is telling you to do here at our school?”.

When trying to figure out how to promote church events, begin by asking yourself “What is the deeply felt need of my target audience and what type of event would best meet it?”.  

(If you want to learn more about marketing from a Biblical worldview, check out our article: Church Marketing Online: The Biblical Way To Grow Your Church)

When you truly meet the deepest felt needs of your audience, they will come find you.

When you understand this concept, knowing how to promote church events becomes as simple as solving figuring out how to meet the needs of your audience.

Claim your ministry marketing strategy session today!

We Review Your Marketing Efforts & Show You Areas To Improve.

STEP 2: Specify A Call To Action In Advance

We worked with a particular megachurch that threw an annual carnival. The event’s budget was very large and they would have thousands of people come from all around the city to attend. 

(Side Note: This event was packed full of families because there were no other family-friendly events in town. This church was meeting a real need through their carnival.)

The only problem was that nothing came of the event. There didn’t seem to be any noticeable bump in church attendance afterward.

The problem was that there was no Call To Action at the event. Participants could just show up and leave unnoticed. There was no check-in table, and they didn’t ask for any form of contact information. 

This is a huge mistake that many churches make. If you have an event, you should at least get the names, emails, and phone numbers of the event-goers. This is especially true if your event is free. 

Most church leaders don’t realize that the most valuable thing they own is their contact list. 

No, your building is not your church’s most valuable asset. 

Your contact list is your direct line of contact between you and the people who make your ministry possible Direct access to these people ensures you have volunteers, donations, and everything else your church needs to thrive. 

Once you get this information, you can follow up with automated emails, texts, and phone calls to check-in and invite these people back to your church on Sunday. 

Even better, you can offer to meet more of their most deeply felt needs. Always specify in advance what Call To Action you will be using at an event (or in your church).  

A Call To Action is a request for your audience to take a specific action. They also usually invoke a yes/no response.

Jesus was a master of using hyper-target calls to action with the people he was speaking to. 

After providing the fish to the fishermen he called them to action by saying “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” – The answer is a clear yes or no. 

Here are some other calls to actions Jesus used: 

  • “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:11
  • “Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. – Matthew 19:21
  • “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.” – Luke 10 2-4
  • “Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:6-8

Always have a preplanned call to action to engage your audience. 

Human nature will almost always choose the path of least resistance. That typically means your audience won’t do something unless you ask. Nothing is always easier than something. 

(This is the same reason we have these big orange Calls To Action right here in our blog! You probably only realize you could get a free conversation with me because I’m telling you right now.)

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Once you call your audience to action, the path of least resistance can turn in your favor. It’s often easier for your audience to say “yes” than to say no once you call them to action. 

Maybe they don’t want to reject you. Maybe they hadn’t considered it before. Whatever the reason, the odds that your audience engages with you go up substantially as soon as you implement a meaningful call to action. 

So what happens if you begin using calls to action but nobody responds?

There are only 2 reasons people don’t engage with a Call To Action. 

  1. You haven’t met your audience’s deepest felt need (which compels them to follow you).
  2. Your call to action itself didn’t offer to meet a further deeply felt need.

You may need to go back to the drawing board and try to find that deeply felt need and a corresponding call to action. 

Example: 

  1. Jesus met the fisherman’s need for fish.
  2. He then called them to a corresponding call to action by offering to make them “fishers of men.” 

(If you want to know more about crafting a call to action, Crazy Egg has an in-depth article on this Here.)

STEP 3: Invite The Right People

Knowing how to promote church events effectively means you need to know who to invite.

When you know your target audience in advance and the specific need you are meeting, MARKETING BECOMES EXTREMELY EASY

You don’t need to advertise your event on every social media platform and all around town. 

To successfully market your event ask yourself the following question: Where does my target audience hang out?

Get together with your team and make a list of all the places locally and online that you can find your target audience profile, then advertise only to those places. 

Success Story: A second pastor we have been working with discovered that his daily Facebook live devotion was getting over 500 viewers each day. 

A couple of families had even begun coming to church on Sunday after seeing his devotions. He asked how he could accelerate this growth even faster. 

I suggested he ask his Facebook live attendees to tell him 1.) What topics they felt would be most meaningful for the daily devos and 2.) What were the needs they hoped to have met during the devo

When this pastor intentionally met the needs his online audience identified, he doubled the size of his physical church in 4 weeks!

His new audience (located in a small town 1 hour away) contacted him to organize school busses to shuttle those who can’t afford transportation. 

His daily devotionals are now reaching people all over the pacific islands, every day. He has hopes for a new church plant in their town in the future. 

This pastor discovered that his audience was on Facebook so he began taking events to them, every day

In scripture, we also find Jesus going directly to His audience. He never waits for them to come to Him and he never goes in search of them in the wrong place.

  • Jesus stepped directly into the boat of Peter, James, John. 
  • Jesus went to the Jewish synagogues to preach to Jews.
  • Jesus went to Samaria to find the Samaritan woman. 

Here are some places online and offline you might find your audience:

  • Online: People searching specific terms on the Google Search Engine (This can be done through Google Advertising and website SEO).
  • Online: Targeting the specific demographics of your target audience on Facebook (Facebook Ads, Facebook Posts)
  • Online: Targeting Facebook Groups that address a particular problem or need (depression or anxiety groups). 
  • Offline: Mass media marketing (specific TV channels, Radio Stations, Billboards, etc)
  • Offline: Targeting local businesses that serve specific audiences (Single moms are always found at daycares, business people are always at the chamber of commerce, etc.)
  • Offline: Public gathering areas (Parks, malls, beaches, etc)
  • Online: Retargeting Ads show ads to people who recently went to your website. 
  • Online: Sending automated email & SMS campaigns to your existing audience is a great way to communicate with people who you have already won over. 

(If you would like to learn more about finding your audience, check out our article titled: Digital Marketing For Churches: The Worlds #1 Online Church Marketing Guide [2021])

When you specifically target the place your audience frequents, you get the greatest bang for your advertising/ marketing dollar. 

Claim your ministry marketing strategy session today!

We Review Your Marketing Efforts & Show You Areas To Improve.

RECAP: 

  1. Forget about the marketing and focus 100% of your attention on how you can meet the needs of your desired audience. 
  2. Prepare a Call To Action in advance that you will use once you have successfully met the needs of your audience. 
  3. Reach out to the specific group of people who are most likely to be receptive to #1 and #2. 
  4. Repeat

When you are able to do this consistently, your church and church events will become a magnet for the people you serve. 

That about sums it up for this post on how to promote church events. 

If you want even more free content that can help you discover how to promote church events even more effectively, check out our post: Digital Marketing For Churches: The World’s #1 Church Marketing Guide.

Which how to promote church events strategy spoke to you the most? Focusing on meeting needs or preparing an enticing call to action? 

Let us know in the comments below!

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