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January 26, 2019

Points to Consider When Planning Your Annual Outreach Calendar

By Jason Daye

Reaching people in our communities does not just happen by default. If we are not intentional about our outreach, then it won’t happen as effectively as it could or as readily as it should. One of the most effective ways of being intentional about reaching our communities with the hope of Jesus is to develop an annual outreach calendar.

Here are six points to consider when your church is creating an annual outreach calendar.

1. Create a master calendar with all the key events.

Take the time to enter in all the key events already happening in the calendar year, such as Advent, Easter, and Christmas. Make sure to also include other holidays like Valentine’s Day and Memorial Day to ensure that you don’t plan to host a big event when a lot of people will be celebrating or out of town.

It will also be helpful to get a hold of the local elementary, middle, and high school calendars in your area. Take note of all the different events going on in the school year, such as winter and spring breaks.

After you have entered in the holiday and area school dates, write down all the special days that are unique to your community and city, such as an annual town parade or county fair.

Though this process can be time consuming, it is important and beneficial. You now have a main calendar that you can filter all your outreaches through as you plan your church’s events.

2. Gather your key ministry leaders together to brainstorm.

Carve out time to gather your staff, pastors, board members, elders, key leaders, and volunteers to review the master calendar. They may be able to point out other key events that you have missed.

Before your time together, you will want to have put some ideas together that you have been praying about and bring them to the table. Your team will be able to provide key insights into what may work well and what ideas may need some more tweaking.

3. Think about the needs of the community and how the church can meet them.

When brainstorming and praying about outreach ideas, ask yourselves, “What makes the most sense for our church and our community? What events will be good for building bridges from our community into the church?” Refer to what’s your story, who you are, and how you feel how God is leading you.

4.  Always think about the next opportunity to connect to deepen the relationship.

What will the next connection point be after the outreach is over? How will you deepen the connection for those who show up to an event to build a relationship with them? We want to reach people in order to get to know people. And we want to know people in order to, prayerfully, have the opportunity to lead them to Jesus Christ.

5. Get the word out.

The mindset of, “If you build it, they will come” does not always translate well in ministry. Do not fail to get the word out about your event. It is a waste of an opportunity if no one from the community shows up. It can also be very disappointing to your volunteers if they have put time and effort into an event that no one attends.

Consider what the most effective ways are to get the word out for each event. Do you need signage, banners, direct mail pieces, social media marketing, and/or personal invitations? Every event won’t necessarily be marketed the same way. Do what makes sense for each specific event.

6. Think about the preaching calendar.

Consider your preaching topics and how they can influence and inform the outreach calendar. A certain sermon series that resonates with the community can be an effective opportunity to introduce them to Jesus Christ.

This article from Jason Daye was adapted from our Effective Community Outreach course. Do want to understand the needs of your local community? Do you want to equip your people in outreach? Do you want to establish your church’s brand and story? If so, check out our Effective Community Outreach course and access 14 modules to help you build bridges to people and extend the love of Jesus Christ in your community.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Daye

Jason Daye is the Vice President of Mobilization at Outreach Inc. with 20+ years of pastoral leadership to help leaders discover how God is already working in their unique ministry contexts and uncover opportunities to build bridges into their neighborhoods to extend the hope of Christ.

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