Company’s Coming: Writing a Promotional Piece to Attract Sunday School Guests for a Second Visit

Thursday 4th September, 2008

Back in the spring, we hosted author, Gary McIntosh for an assimilation event named after his book, Beyond the First Visit. It came at the conclusion of an eight-stop assimilation tour around the state. Over the years, I have noted that good authors are not always good speakers. But McIntosh wrote a great book, AND he is also a great speaker.

In the book, McIntosh "invites you to take another look at your church through the eyes of a first-time guest to identify the things that might be holding them back from a second visit." I found many of the issues he identifies are relevant for Sunday School, small groups, and Sunday School classes. One way to attract second visits is to think through your promotional plan. For an article which shares about this from McIntosh's book, check out Five Ways to Welcome Guests.

McIntosh offers eight questions to help in putting together publicity pieces. His questions are in all capitals (with "church" changed to "class") followed by my commentary applying them to a Sunday School class (or small group):

  1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR [CLASS]? Pray and think this through as a class or leadership team. Why does your class exist? What do you hope to accomplish? Where are you headed? How do you help the church to accomplish her mission and purpose?
  2. WHAT MAKES YOUR [CLASS] UNIQUE, COMPARED TO OTHERS IN YOUR [CHURCH]? Describe the target group for the class. What are you studying? What kind of fellowships do you enjoy? What ministry/service projects are planned? How often do you launch a daughter class?
  3. WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS GUESTS CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE FROM ATTENDING? Get the class involved in listing these benefits: learning about the Bible and God, friendships, fun, help in times of trouble, encouragement, serving together, etc.
  4. WHAT ARE NEWER MEMBERS SAYING ABOUT YOUR [CLASS]? This adds to the previous two questions. Quotes can make a publicity piece more interesting. And by asking new members, you may discover aspects about the class you did not previously know!
  5. WHAT DO YOU WANT THE READER TO KNOW, THINK, FEEL, AND DO AFTER READING YOUR FIRST-IMPRESSION PIECE? Don't rush here. Again, pray and think this through. Do you want them to be excited? Do you want them to be made to think? Do you want them to come to a class fellowship, project, or Bible study session?
  6. WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU HAVE FOR PRODUCING IT (BUDGET, TIME, HELPERS, EQUIPMENT)? Count the cost! Do the best job you can. Ask attenders for suggestions and help. You might be surprised at the untapped resources available for the asking. You might have a person who majored in graphic design, someone with printer connections, or other knowledge or resources that can be utilized.
  7. WHAT PRIMARY AUDIENCE DO YOU HOPE TO REACH WITH YOUR ADVERTISING (FAMILIES, YOUTH, THE ELDERLY, SINGLES, OR A PARTICULAR ETHNIC GROUP)? Think through your class target. A targeted age group will make your promotional piece more effective. Is it for males, females, singles, or couples? Images and even terminology should be chosen carefully.
  8. HAS YOUR [CLASS] STARTED MINISTRY IN THE INTERNET'S CYBERCULTURE? IF NOT, WHEN WILL YOU START? iF YES, HOW CAN YO U IMPROVE? WHO CAN HELP? Today with so many web options available, every church and even every adult (and youth?) class should consider having a web presence. Try a blog. There are web programs which include event calendaring, announcements, class e-mail, and much more. Why not turn the web into a promotional tool for your class?

What if every adult class in your church put together a promotional piece and plan? What every guest received an invitation and first-impression piece in person on Sunday? What if you mailed age-appropriate pieces to all worship guests who did not attend Sunday School? Simply the preparation of this kind of publicity will often make the class more aware and intentional about attracting guests and pursuing second visits. Pray. Attract. Reach out. Be revolutionary!

For other blog posts about assimilation through the Sunday School, check out the following:

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