Communicating to the Congregation
Part of the huge success of this Christmas Spectacular event for JourneyChurch.tv was mobilizing their own congregation to show up and invite their friends. They did this some of the normal ways, but also created something that was worthy of word-of-mouth recommendations from their folks.
They started with the normal things. They designed invitation cards that they handed out to their congregation to help them when they invited their friends. It was something simple that talked about the Christmas Spectacular and listed the service times. They also designed yard signs—shaped like Christmas ornaments—which they encouraged their congregation to put in their yards. The idea for these yard signs was simply as a conversation starter. It was something to get their neighbors asking them about the event—giving them the perfect opportunity to invite their neighborhoods.
To increase the buzz among their congregation and the community, they made some t-shirts that they encouraged their folks to wear. The shirts had a fun, pop-culture Christmas design on the front. They referenced the movie Elf by featuring images of a piece of candy + a piece of candy corn + a bottle of maple syrup. When people asked about the shirt they could explain that it was from the movie, but then also invite them to the event. The back of the shirt featured event details. They sold these to their congregation for about $4 each to cover the costs of the shirt.
Finally, they promoted the events internally by created a few fun video announcements. They bought a Gumby-like Christmas tree costume and featured that in all of them—as a representation of Christmas.
One video was a point-of-view shot of someone driving. The viewer glanced from their windshield to their side view mirror and noticed the label that said, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” Then the camera glanced back at the windshield before looking at the side mirror again. Once they looked back to the side mirror, the Gumby-like Christmas tree was chasing the car trying to catch up. Then the text showed up, “Don’t let Christmas sneak up on you. Who are you inviting?”
They made a few of these that were all about the fact that Christmas was coming.
This kept reminding their congregations to show up at one of their services on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and to invite a friend.
They knew mobilizing their congregation was one of the best ways they could fill their seven Christmas services. So they began as soon as they could, in mid-November.
Beyond that, they created a great service. They encouraged their congregations to show up to the Friday service then come back for Saturday or Sunday. And because the service was so spectacular, people told their friends about it. They attended twice—the second time with a friend in tow.
As you plan your Christmas services this year, look for ways to mobilize your folks to invite their friends. One invitation from a friend is far more effective than ten or even twenty advertisements.