Learn to Reach New, Young Families

The Four Step Videos are Live!

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Many churches struggle with reaching out to young families. If you’d like to begin to solve this problem, here is a quick little montage of some clips from the Four Steps to Reaching Your First New Young Family videos.  You can view the montage by clicking the video.

If you’d like to get these “4 Steps to Your First, New, Young Family” videos for FREE, just enter your email below!

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Learn how your church can begin to reach and keep new, young families. These tested and proven techniques have been viewed and used by local churches all across North America and on the foreign mission field.

Church Visibility Snippet

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This is a short little cut I recorded while we were working on the video side of the church visibility course. You can enroll in the free course by using the form below.

Every church needs to be highly visible in its community.  Here are five ways to make that happen. Hands-on, practical training from ReachKeep.com!

Get this FREE five day course and help your church make a difference in your community! (While waiting for the finishing touches on the course, we will send you a free YouTube video on the local church visibility.)

 

Creating Fill-in-the-Blank Sermon Notes- [video]

Five Minutes to Better Sundays

Every Bible speaker has the obligation to keep their listeners engaged.  Fill-in-the-Blank sermon notes come in all sizes and shapes, but are certain to help with engagement and especially with retention.  The video below, gives several tips and tricks to help Bible preachers and teachers be the best they can be.  It does add a considerable amount to the workload of sermon preparation, but is extremely beneficial, especially in sermon series.  Also, I have found it is very helpful in a ministry comprised of a high percentage of new believers.

If you are interested in doing a complete sermon series, with full community impact, I have prepared a Sermon Series Planner Outline. Just enter your information below and we will email it direction to your inbox. or you can wait the entire video on Creating an Engaging Sermon Series by following this link.  ReachKeep YouTube channel.

 

Six Church Website Mistakes

Plus: Eight things that should be on every church page!

Okay, so I have been on the road for a few weeks doing a little experiment. I decided since I was traveling across a big portion of the midwest, I would evaluate websites of local churches to see how “we” are doing.  “We” is a very broad term for all of us local church lovers.  I know the “business world” is doing pretty good at making websites shine and ultimately be profitable, but in my experience the “church world” can get a little lazy in regards results to effort ratios.  I think it’s related to the whole pragmatism thing, but that another story for another blog post.

Right now, I just wanted to see if churches were including the right things on their websites and eliminating the bad things that can often distract first time local church guests.  I wrote three separate emails to my followers and then created a summary page.  I am making the summary page  available to everyone, because it is very important that “we” (church folk) do this website thing right.

I have pasted the emails and the data below this summary page cheat sheet that I have created for you. You can get this nice one-page PDF by entering you info below.

Effective Websites Reach Young Families

Learn the 8 most important things to include on your church's website!

Discover six big bad booboos that will make your church look irrelevant!---This is a single page, printable, in PDF format.

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Email Reports

 

 

Website review of 5 churches in a large city in the plains. Report #1

Hello Friends of the Local Church!

Since I am driving across the country to attend a family reunion, I thought I would do some website reviews of local churches in the communities where I am visiting or spending the night.

Because we are releasing a set of videos on church visibility, I though it would be a good idea to give you some hands-on, real-time data.

This is the first of several reports over the next few weeks of my travels. I will not be naming the cities or the churches, but reviewing their sites as if I were new to the community and considering attending. Since I am a Baptist, I have simply typed in “baptist church, ABC city and State” I have reviewed the top five hits on Google excluding any paid ads. Also, I have include a more detailed section of data below my summary.

Today’s review is covering just website basics. The community is over 250,000 in population. The next report will cover church contact information availability.

  • Four of five had nice and newer looking sites with sliding banners and easy navigation.
  • Only half had the address and services time in plain site. This info is the number one thing a person searches for. Make sure yours is “above the fold”.
  • Only half had a map on the main page. Again, this is vital info.
  • None had clear pictures of the approach of the building or the pastor. Both of these help greatly putting first time guest at ease.
  • Only one had an easily found sentence informing guests of what to expect when they arrived. (more on this in another post)
  • One church had no accessible website. BAD!

Summary: I’d check out the very first one which had most of the basics, a sentence telling me about the church and short video showing some of the ministries.

Tomorrow’s report will come from a large mid-western city (100,000+) and will review some basics and cover contact information.

Thanks for reading. I had better hit the sack. It looks like another 10 hour drive tomorrow!

Mike

P.S. If you’d like to get on the list to get the visibility video training click this link. https://app.convertkit.com/landing_pages/54529

SUMMARY DATA

Church A
Website accessible from Google search- YES
Website Attractive and Up to date- YES
Service times and address above the fold-YES
Map on main page -YES
No picture of church
No picture of pastor
What to expect- Yes, paragraph explaining basic position.
Extras- Nice video of ministry
4 reviews
Church B
Website accessible from Google search- YES
Website Attractive and Up to date- YES
Service times and address above the fold-NO
Map on main page-NO
No picture of church
No picture of pastor
What to expect-NO
Extras-calendar, and sermon links
1 review

Church C
No website
1 review
Church D
Website accessible from Google search- YES
Website Attractive and Up to date- YES
Service times and address above the fold-Times YES Address NO
Map on main-NO
No picture of church
No picture of pastor
What to expect- NO
1 review
Church E
Website accessible from Google search- Yes
Website Attractive and Up to date- No- Filled with Easter stuff
Service times and address above the fold-YES
Map on main-YES
No picture of church
No picture of pastor
What to expect- NO
1 review

 

Search Engines vs. Websites- Church report #2- Midwestern city of 120,000

Good News and Bad News

Today we are checking contact information on the top five ranked Baptist churches in a town of about 120,000. If new folks want to get a hold of you, finding the right address, right phone number and right time to contact is vital. Sometimes each engines and websites will differ. BEWARE! Sometimes they will be completely wrong! If your church is relocating to new building or being assigned a new area code, sometimes Goggle can lag way behind. Our church plant was “relocated” by Google to a town 150 miles away that had an identical address. It took two years to get is straightened out.
Here is my summary and suggestions:
Summary:

  • Most of these sites had matched data on Google and the church’s website.
  • The sites that worked had physical addresses easily seen on their website.
  • It is a major error in having your church site not properly connected to Google.
  • No church website means you don’t want to put out the effort for new families and guests.
  • Typos, misspellings and out dated information on events, tell people you are not on top of things. “If they don’t pay attention to their website, they probably won’t pay attention to my personal needs either.”

Suggestions:

  • Check addresses on major search engines: Google, BING and Yahoo.
  • Double check all info such as phone numbers, addresses, etc…
  • Double check sites like Superpages, Yellowpages. They feed off of other search engines and often take a longer time to update.
  • Make sure website contact info is on main page or a primary menu item.
  • Double check location/review websites like Yelp and Four Square.
  • In contact menu, post “how to get in touch” hours or procedures.
  • Create a “email the pastor” button. Openly solicit questions and feedback.

The main focus of this post is search for yourself (or have someone else do it) and make sure things are correct. Much of the search engines and listing business is automatically done. Just remember automatic does not always mean it is correct!

Time to get back to driving. This texting and driving is killing me. ha!

Mike

Here is my anniversary photo of me and my dear bride (taken by my 14year old). 32 years of togetherness, but not sure what this means??

Church Data –

Midwestern town- 120,000 top five listings on Google “baptist church”

A
Google had address and phone number-YES
Website had same address and phone number- YES
Address and phone number on front page-YES
Contact button in top level menu-YES
Office hours posted on Google- YES
Office hours on website-NO
Extras- Contact page had a email form and names but no descriptions of who they were.
B
Google had address and phone number-YES
Website had same address and phone number- YES
Address and phone number on front page-YES
Contact button in top level menu-NO
Office hours posted on Google- NO
Office hours on website-NO
Extras- Address and service time on top of home page!
C
Google had address and phone number-YES
Website had same address and phone number- NO Went to another prophetic ministry website
Address and phone number on front page-NO
Contact button in menu-YES- but went to another site
Office hours posted on Google- NO
Office hours on website-NO
Extras- VERY CONFUSING- Button on Google page sends to unclear page.

D
Google had address and phone number-YES
Website had same address and phone number- YES
Address and phone number on front page-YES
Contact button in menu-NO
Office hours posted on Google- NO
Office hours on website-NO
Extras- Sermons and events were 9 moths old.

E
Google had address and phone number-YES
Website had same address and phone number- NO WEBSITE
Address and phone number on front page-NO WEBSITE
Contact button in menu-NO WEBSITE
Office hours posted on Google- NO WEBSITE
Office hours on website-NO WEBSITE
Extras- NO WEBSITE

 

Do you know the 3 types of pictures that need to be on every church’s website?. Report #3

Websites and Photos-What you need to know.

People are attracted by pictures because they help us discern what a church will be like. There is always a level of tension when a person visits a new church or any place that is unfamiliar. We are wise to use photos and printed information to make the guest experience more comfortable.

Here three types of picture to make sure are included on your website. They need to be on the main page or very near the top levels of navigation.

  1. Familiarity Pictures- Photos of the building and key leaders. This creates quicker recognition, which is a key to eliminating discomfort.
  2. Ministry Pictures- Use snapshots of activities in progress, so new guests get an idea of what is important to you.
  3. Real Pictures- Use real people form the church doing real things, staging photos is okay, just stay away from relying heavily on “picture perfect” stock photos.

Summary:

  • Most of these sites I reviewed had a good use of real pictures.
  • Most had moving banners.
  • Contact info needs to be front and center along with service times and directions.
  • Make sure your site does what it is supposed to do. One site went straight to a denominational HQ page. BAD!

Suggestions for your website:

  • Check and make sure your business hours do not exclude Sundays. Google will same you are closed when it really is your most important day of the week! (See below)
  • Take “real pictures”. Get rid of stock photos and use real ones.
  • Take time to setup photos of nursery and kids programs in action.
  • Close ups are better than broad far away shots. Crop if necessary.
  • Use moving banners
  • Make a simple video welcoming and showing some of the ministries.

<<To learn more about how to make your local church more visible in your community, ReachKeep will soon be releasing a FREE video course covering several aspects of how a community views the local church and what you can do to make it more effective. Follow this link to get on the list and be the first to get the course when it is released. (Visibility Course Wait List)

NOTE: Google “CLOSED TODAY” SYNDROME

Search Criteria for this report:

Bible believing church- suburb of large metro area 1.5 million
Quick Lesson: someone looking to attend is ‘browsing” more than researching.
graphics tell more faster that words.

1.
church building outside-NO
pastor -YES
real people- not stock photos-YES
ministries-YES
map-YES
moving banners-YES
video, but not a message-YES

2,
church building outside-NO
pastor-YES
real people- not stock photos-YES
ministries-YES
map-YES
moving banners-YES
video, but not a message-NO
3.
church building-YES
pastor-YES
real people- not stock photos-YES
ministries-NO
map-NO
moving banners-NO
video, but not a message-YouTube Button

4.
LINKED TO A Denominational HQ and website-BAD! BAD! BAD!

5.
church building-YES
pastor-NO
real people- not stock photos-NO
ministries-NO
map-NO
moving banners-NO
video, but not a message-NO

 

 

Ugh! Three Terrible Church Signs

How to make your church invisible.

Note: [The last there weeks I have been deep into this “visibility project”. When I left for my family vacation, I knew I would be out of the office, but the creative part of the project was still heavy on my mind, especially when I saw these three church signs!]

I am on vacation. At least I am supposed to be on vacation. Vacations mean a lot of different things to many folks. Change of pace. Change of location, Warm weather. Cold weather. No work.

But for me, I am always looking and thinking about church stuff. I didn’t mean to do it. Honest! It is just that we drove by these churches and I saw their signs and I knew I had to make some comments……so here they are.

•••Three terrible church sign mistakes (of course, in my humble opinion!).

#1 Weathered Banner. Banner are very inexpensive. Back in the day, they used to cost a lot. I just went by a church that had a promotional banner that had long seen it’s better days. Tattered, weathered, beaten and faded. Ugh!

Is that what your church wants to portray? No way!

Today, go drive our away from your church and drive back in looking like a new guest would look. See it? Yep, there is a something there that needs an upgrade. Go ahead, fix it and paint it or replace it. Sharpen up. (I am under conviction right now. ugh! I better get some paint)

#2 Fancy not Practical. We drove by a nice looking building that was obviously a church. It caught our eye from a distance. We immediately focused on the sign out front, that caught our eye as well. It was a metal hanging sign in the shape of a horse. It was pretty cool looking. We are out here in the west and the church was just taking advantage of a very popular symbolic shape. The big problem was, because of the shape there was not enough room for all the data about the church. How do solve that? Just shrink the text so small it could not be read in the time that a person has as they are driving by.

Cool idea, bad execution.

This is a typical problem of designing a sign in an office or hanging “mock ups” on a wall. Drivers are often hundreds of feet away and have only 5 seconds or less to read a sign. We tried really hard to read it and we failed. I have no idea even what kind of church it was. I could never recommend it, talk about it, or mention it in conversation. That is bad visibility. You want folks of the community to know where you are. Hint: Test your sign under real conditions. Recreate the distances and time allotted to read the message. It is better to have the sign readable, than fancy!

#3 Preaching not Informing We saw this one on the edge of a mid-sized community today. A giant word “Grace”. That’s all! The word “Grace” is a great message, but it is not informative. At the risk of being misquoted and labeled a heretic…Grace is not enough. The people of that community needed more than “Grace”. Grace was not able to get the job done. (wow, I felt terrible even writing those sentences!)
Now, in their defense, I am sure they wanted to confer that God’s grace is huge. And I fully agree, but the problem is grace has to be conferred person-to-person. Since I need God’s grace, I really need a person to tell me about it. I need to know where and when I can meet up with the grace givers. No luck with that sign. I wasn’t even sure if there was a building nearby.

I know, I know. My judgment is harsh. True, there may have been other signs to those churches I missed. They might have some good explanations. But…..a community’s judgement is even harsher.

This I know is true. you only get one chance to make a first impression. Every day the banner is tattered, the drive-by’s can’t read your sign or you can’t get basic information, is another day wasted in practical local church outreach. I believe a vibrant, active and effective local church is the greatest hope for your community.Every day things are sloppy or poorly thought out is one more chance you have missed to be that visible effective and outreach-oriented local church.

Mike

P.S. I just finished another training video for the new “Five Days to Better Church Visibility” email course. Although this blog posts deals with physical signage, the course has a big focus on how your church can be more visible online. The wait list for this FREE course is growing! Click the link below to get your invitation!

<<Five Days to Better Church Visibility>>

#67 Mother’s Day Ideas [Podcast]

Podcast and FREE Idea Sheet

Screenshot 2016-04-26 18.44.19
Play

Screenshot 2016-04-26 19.06.42Mother’s Day at your local church could best the best attended service of the year. Make sure you are ready with this powerful training video and accompanying FREE cheatsheet download.
Join Mike Holmes and Caleb Schultz, along with special guest Tannim Hallman, as they discuss the importance of this big day and how to prepare for Mother’s Day at your local church.

 

Creating Engaging Sermon Series [Video]

Getting folks to visit church can be a challenge. Get them to come back can be a bigger challenge.

One and done is no fun!  

Here is a simple five minute video to get you started on creating engaging sermon series that get folks returning to church every week. It also includes a 20 point planner to help you get started in your engaging sermon series!

If you enter your email address, we will send you the Sermon Series Planner Worksheet!

Signup now to to get your free download and other helpful resources from ReachKeep.

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How to Create Anticipation for Church Attendance [Video]

Are people in your community anticipating church?

If church leaders can be responsible for “bad” experiences like forgetting to turn the heat on or lack of cleanliness, can’t we also be involved in managing “good” experiences. In this video, learn the importance of “creating anticipation”.  Click the link below to get a list of 19 things any church can easily do to help get folks anticipating Sunday services.


If you enter your email address, we will send you the list of 19 ideas that will help you create anticipation for Sunday services.

Signup now to to get your free download and other helpful resources from ReachKeep.

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Three Easy Things for a Better Easter

How would you like to have a better Easter? I know you can’t get better that a resurrection and the Gospel message. But I am talking about a better expression of that. New guests at church, friends bringing friends, eternal decisions, a great spirit, and folks wanting to return! Yep, That kind of better!

You see, I love Easter. It is such an inspiring day in so many ways.

I want others to love Easter too! That is why my goal is to get folks to come church, respond to the message and keep coming back. If you share my goals, then here are a few simple ideas to help you reach those goals.

Getting Folks to Church-

Here is the simplest and most effective way to get your community to know you are there and want to come to a service.  Facebook. Create some simple posts and get them out into the community stream this week. But you need to hurry!  This YouTube video (Facebook Ads for Churches) will show how to do “paid” ads and “free” ads. You can spend as little as five dollars a day. The ad below with the “feet” has cost me less than $15 so far and has been seen by 3500 people within 10 miles of my church.  The black silhouette ad was a free ad I did about four weeks ago. A family responded to the ad and has attended almost every service since.Screenshot 2016-03-20 18.07.17Screenshot 2016-03-16 10.35.16

Three Tips on Your Ads-

  1. Aim them at families
  2. Link them to your Facebook page or website
  3. Don’t get fancy. Just get them posted.

Responding to the Message-

Make sure you really welcome folks to the service in a kind and thoughtful way. Show you care about them. In a few moments you will be giving the Gospel, which includes some hard choices. Figure out a way, as the pastor, to warm up to them ahead of time.  Here is what I am doing this year. We are creating a half sheet bulletin insert that shows all our major events over the next six months. I am going to leave ample time, right before the sermon, to thoughtfully explain why we do what we do. People love to know why churches do things. I will make this an important part of my time at the pulpit. It won’t get cut short or delegated. It is amazing how folks respond once they know what you are all about and once they know you care.

Getting Them Back-

Lets be honest, folks don’t always come back to church because of the great oratorios that we present. Sometimes it is the friends that they made, or the good experience they had, that helped them get up and get going on a Sunday morning. Here is a small thing we have done that helps bond people to the church and to each other. We take pictures (impromptu) on Sunday morning as people arrive. I just use my iPhone and a few handout cards like below. You can stream the pictures to a monitor, (the kids love it) or you can just email them out to the family later in the week with info about the next service. Either way, it is a simple and effective way to create belonging.

IMG_1875 (1)IMG_1858

IMG_1880

IMG_1877The ones below are from Mother’s Day last year. We will use them this year for promo.  This year, my Easter pics will include two cards that they will hold. One will say our theme, “Easter is for Everyone”. The other will say “We are the Everyone”.  I will assemble random groups of folks, tell them I taking a pic, hand them the signs, have them squeeze in tight and shoot the picture. Then, I’ll just go to another group. It is really fun and creates a community spirit.

Conclusion

You don’t want to let the the best day of the year sneak past you.  Take a few moments and figure out how to implement these ideas and lets make some flourishing churches!

How to do Facebook Ads for your Local Church

It is a great time of the year to experiment with Facebook ads if you never have used them. With Easter coming just around the corner, you have little to lose and much to gain.

The following video that I recorded, was done during the Christmas season. It worked great then, as did our Easter ads last year at this time. Here are our stats from last years Easter ads.

1. Ads ran from Wednesday-Sunday (Easter)
2. They went to 5500 people we targeted in our community.
3. There were 32,000 views within that target audience.
4. We created three ads.

  • One for our main Easter Services on Sunday.
  • One for our Saturday night service.
  • One for our kids programs and a egg hunt in a local park adjacent to the church.

5. Each person saw our ads about 5 times.
6. Our total cost was $120.00
7. Our attendance was more than double our regular attendance.

This link will walk you through the process and will help you make you own ads for the upcoming Easter services. Click on this screenshot and you will be directed to the YouTube video.

Screenshot 2016-03-13 20.58.53
Have  a great Easter and let me know how it went with your ads.
Mike H.
pastor
Additional Resource:

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