Attracting a Crowd to Your Church

August 25, 2005 by

Simply Strategic Growth: Attracting a Crowd to Your ChurchThe latest issue of Rev magazine has an article from Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan of Granger Community Church in Granger, Ind. adapted from their book Simply Strategic Growth. The article includes a number of ideas for drawing crowds to your church, including:

  • Address specific needs. Like marriages, raising families, money, fulfillment, etc.
  • Entertain people. I can hear the gasps at this one, but they make a good argument.
  • Make children a priority. Granger is well known for their incredible children’s ministry. Sponge Bob would be jealous.
  • Raise the energy level of worship. Though I have to disagree with their suggestion to turn up the volume. Background music that’s too loud puts me on edge and hinders my ability to converse.
  • Give people hope. Grace, not condemnation. People should leave challenged, but encouraged.

And the idea I find most intersting: offer multiple services regardless of how full your church is.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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9 Responses to “Attracting a Crowd to Your Church”

  • PaulW
    August 25, 2005

    It sounds like Granger Community Church has some good ideas. But something bothers me when I read about church techniques that are so focused on drawing in the crowds.
    What if people are coming to your church only to see your “performance”? What if they leave your church at the end of a service not knowing what the big deal about Jesus Christ really is? What if people think that what they hear in church is just like any other secular message?
    The Christian church has a unique message to proclaim in this confused world: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) I’m concerned that merely “entertaining people” and “raising the energy level” can distract the church from the real message.
    What’s that message? Well, we are all humans, and none of us are able to follow God’s law perfectly. We’re guilty. But Jesus comes to the rescue! He rushes in and takes the punishment that should have been ours. But Jesus triumphs over that nasty devil. He promises us help for this life, and (even better!) a place with Him in life Eternal!
    I think people really need to hear that message. It’s so important.
    Oh, and something else I was going to say. Being a small church is OK, too. Don’t feel discouraged just because your church doesn’t have thousands of people coming every weekend. Even if you have 40 people who come to a service, that’s good! Praise God that 40 people come to a service! That’s 40 more people who are hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
    I’m definately for the last point, though: “Give people hope.” Not just a “I’ll try harder to do good this week” kind of hope, but a hope that comes through our faith in Christ. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7)

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  • Tony Morgan
    August 25, 2005

    Paul, you obviously didn’t read the article before you made your comments. Otherwise, you might have read this:
    “We agree that entertaining people in the church for entertainment’s sake is not appropriate. But if our objective is to capture people’s attention in order to turn their hearts toward God, what could be more appropriate?”
    And, it appears that you may not be familiar with the ministry of Granger Community Church, or you wouldn’t have made the assumption that we aren’t proclaiming the message of Romans 5:8.
    In fact, we did an entire five-week series this summer talking about the seven deadly sins. Then we followed that with another series where we talked about how Jesus bridges the gap created by our sin. And, as a result of those two series, we had several hundred people commit their lives to Jesus Christ.
    I love your heart for helping people experience the hope that is in Christ. But, please don’t assume that just because we want to draw a crowd to our church, that we don’t actually help people enter into a relationship with Jesus.

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  • Paul Podraza
    August 26, 2005

    I always bite my tongue when a conversation like this comes up within our church blog circles. If you read terry storch, or tony morgan, or any of the other church blogs, the theory of “entertainment” within a Sunday morning service is a hot button issue. But for some reason, I’m going to speak my heart to this issue. Not for the intent of changing anybody’s mind, but just to show that God can work in many different ways.
    Please don’t misconstrue this comment as an attack on PaulW or as just a wholehearted support of Tony Morgan, it’s a comment made with great love. Ok?
    I wouldn’t be a Christian today if the church I now attend, and work at as the Media Director, didn’t use “entertainment.” Secular music, worship music that’s in a similar genre to what I normally listen to, movie clips, dramas, theater lighting was all something that intrigued me. It got me in the door of my church, and was a vehicle to get me into a fully obedient relationship with God. This happened seven years ago. Five years ago, I came on full time with my church, and have devoted my life to serving God as a minister, who uses technology and media as a main tool to support the Message, not to be the Message.
    I now produce a tv show for my church that reaches on average 10,000 people per week. God has multiplied the efforts of my church because it used “entertainment” in the first place. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t be there now. And I don’t mean to throw out numbers just to say our church is effective, I say it because there are x (could be 1, 100, 1000, etc.) number of people being reached with the Message, because I was reached by God.
    Once again, please don’t take this an attack, just a mere statement of my opinion on the success that churches can have when they speak a relevant language. Just because you speak a different language, or a different dialect, doesn’t mean the message is changed. It’s just said in a different way.
    If you are called to preach the Gospel in a liturgical, traditional, contemporary, loud music, classical music, small church, large church, medium church, in an urban, suburban, or rural environment, then preach the Message with all diligence in the most relevant way. Disagreeing over the way the Message is preached, (as long as the Message itself is not compromised of course) is a waste of breath.
    I’ll be seeing you guys in heaven because Christ died for me, and there was a church that chose to speak in a way that I would listen.

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  • Peter Bishop
    August 26, 2005

    Why is it that when people mention Christs and Crowds that it rubs people ? And when did the thinking come into play that somehow because large amounts of people are involved it doesn’t involve Christ? And when you talk about drawing people why does it instantly turn into meaning that your against smaller churches? It puzzles me…. Large crowds followed Jesus all the time.. I’m wondering if there were some that were following him that just didn’t get it….Im wondering if there were people who were there that were entertained..come on raising the dead….healing…. Id go to check that out no matter where I was….Im wondering if there were people that encountered Christ and there whole world and eternity was changed………….. I have been to Granger and know people on staff there. They Love Jesus and they Love people.

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    August 26, 2005

    “Entertainment” in church

    I am consistently dumbfounded when a blog entry or comment is made about using “entertainment” to attract people to church is immediately rebutted by someone who is afraid that churches when they use “entertainment” immediately…

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  • Anne Jackson
    August 26, 2005

    I think some people confuse “entertain” with “perform” – some churches may use the avenue of performance for entertainment, others may use another avenue. It depends on the culture of the people you are trying to reach.

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  • Kirk Longhofer
    August 26, 2005

    Tony and Tim: Keep doing exactly what you’re doing, and don’t let any of the criticism get you down. Your results in lives changed is testimony that you’re doing something right!

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  • Yvonne
    April 7, 2006

    I could not go to the link “Ideas for drawing crowds to your church”. Could you please send me another way to find this? I am very interested in it.
    Thank You

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  • Carl
    May 23, 2006

    I work with Youth for Christ, a parachurch organization, and so my training ther gives me a bit of a different take on all of this.
    In my YFC chapter, we stress a funnel – the wide end is the contacting end, the middle is building relationships and so on, and the bottom is a committed follower of Jesus Christ.
    Some groups and churches over-concentrate on one part of the funnel. TOP of funnel: All entertainment, but no process to go further. BOTTOM: Or maybe great Bible studies that barely anyone attends.
    MIDDLE: Or somewhere in-between, pot-lucks and relationships but nothing to get new people to come (the wide part) and nothing to reap and disciple them (the bottom narrow part).
    My point? All of the above. Bring them in. Relate to them. Help them connect to Christ. Befriend them and teach them.
    If you only do ONE of these parts, you are self-limiting your church or ministry. You cannot disciple those not there! So you have to get them there. Once there, you need steps to get them further relating with you and learning about God.
    Plan the steps, and support each step, from “outsider” to “visitor” to “member”. No one part is more needed or even more “spiritual” if properly understood and done. Don’t lean on your strengths or what you like the most, be a mature, complete, balanced ministry.

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