Get The Word Out

Today was the 5th Sunday of our new initiative, The Well. By most accounts, week 5 was as good, as meaningful, as edifying, etc. as any of the previous weeks. Cliff Cline and the musicians were, once again, fantastic. The children are returning from [Quench] energized and joyful. People are lingering afterwards for coffee and fellowship. I’m grateful also for the hugely positive feedback I received regarding my message (will upload shortly for this post).

And yet, in spite of our best efforts, the numbers were down considerably today. Launch Sunday met attendance expectations at 100+. Subsequent Sundays were down from that, but not by much. Today we might have had less than half the attendance of our launch. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m not all about ‘the numbers.’ I’m looking for new faces, I’m looking for faces I haven’t seen in a while, and I’m looking for those new faces to have repeat visits. I’m looking for feedback that would indicate that we’re making a difference in people’s lives—some indication that people are moving more closely toward Jesus because of their experience with us. By those measurements, I think The Well is off to a good start. But, that’s just my opinion…if you have attended The Well, I’d love to have your impressions recorded in the comments section of this post.

Why am I fussing about attendance numbers? The reason is simple: If we are meaningfully impacting lives with this initiative, I think it would be God-glorifying to multiply that effect. One transformed life is enough to charge me up, but what if we can help transform two lives? Or ten lives? Or fifty lives? Or a hundred lives?

At the end of the day, I recognize that transformation is ultimately up to the Lord (1Cor. 3:5-7), but I want to be sure that we’ve done all we can do, that is, all that God requires of us. There is one area which I think we can improve upon at The Well; it’s in the area of promotion. Very few people outside of St. Giles Kingsway have heard of The Well. That’s partly a function of being a 5 week-old ministry, but I think it’s also partly a function of us (those who attend The Well) not being as persistent as we could be with inviting friends, family, neighbours, etc.

This morning I learned an 11 year-old girl had brought a friend with her to The Well for the first time…I love that! For kids, it is so natural to want to share positive experiences with friends. I’m inspired by that 11 year-old.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to be rolling out a more comprehensive plan for promoting The Well. In addition to advertising in the local paper, we’ll be thinking about an effective door-to-door flyer drop-off strategy. Cliff and I are looking to put together a promotional video to upload to our respective blogs, to YouTube, to our website, and to our facebook group. We’re also looking to implement an invitation incentive program. Yes, we’re pretty serious about getting the word out!

But, after saying all of that, I still maintain that the best approach to promoting The Well is to prayerfully approach people close to you and to invite them to join you one Sunday. That is indisputably the best strategy.

What’s our motivation? Jesus has transformed our life. His grace has satisfied our soul. We want that for our friends, our classmates, our colleagues, and our family members. We think The Well is a great place to introduce Jesus to those we regularly connect with. So, if you’ve attended The Well, can I encourage you to prayerfully consider inviting someone to be your guest? Are you willing to help us get the word out? 

10 thoughts on “Get The Word Out

  1. Hey Brynsky,

    As I mentioned to you before, don’t sweat it. Some of the church communities you have heard of started with a bang, but most of them took some time to find their personality, then grew as a result. You have a call, kind of Pauline in nature: to build a new foundation on no previous base. Pray more than anything that God will shape it into a reality similar to how he has laid it on your heart. Maybe you have a feeling but not a picture, let God help you paint it. Maybe you know what you think it should look like, but as you construct it, you will have to mix things up to achieve the result you are looking for. No matter what, it is a very cool thing God is building and I am glad to be a part.

    Peace,

    C

  2. Hi Byrn,
    great blog entry – it was very motivational. I agree with you that numbers are not always important and should not be the focus, however, on this mission – of ‘churching the unchurched’ and reaching out to those who cannot find a place in the traditional service I believe that it should be. Not the entire focus, but it is evident that the numbers are a large part of what gages our effectiveness. I would like to believe that everyone would come out at least once in the hopes of identifying with it and finding a place. However, I hate to say that I have spread the word to many close family, friends and friends of friends and have been shoked by the responses. I have disclosed my feelings and excitement about the mission and feel as though they are giving me lipservice by telling me that it is something that “they would try”, knowing that they will never follow through. I am feeling very discouraged and agree that we need to start getting creative and more crafty with our outreach initiatives. I think that the incentives idea sounds great (however its troubling to think that we are needing this to have them experience something so special), the flyer is also great – is there any way of putting it in the Guardian newspaper aswell?? Just a few thoughts.
    Looking forward to the weeks to come.
    Jill

  3. Hey Bryn, I wish I could be there to invite people. I promise to keep my eyes and ears open for anyone who might find The Well a good fit. Don’t be discouraged after one low Sunday. I think you’re on the right track with wanting to spend some more time and effort on promotion. But you’re also right that the friendly invite is the best promotion you can get. Keep this before your key leaders and ask them to adopt it as regular prayer before God. And give it time…I am convinced that you are honouring God through The Well. I am convinced that God will bless it.

    Cheers,
    R.

  4. Hi,
    I have found the “Word” comes in many forms. As Arthur Holmes titled in his book, “All truth is God’s truth.” I have been reading Eckhart Tolle’s book “A NEw Earth” and think he is on to something. The Presence he talks about appears to be akin to the Holy Spirit in it’s actions. Now hearing God speak to me has never occured in the natural but I have heard/felt the movement in my chest/heart that tells me unequivically the right things to do that are precognizant. Nothing I dreamed of saying.
    The love, joy and peace is no different than the Fruits of the Spirit in my wife’s and I in our Bible study last night. When Jesus says “Deny thyself” I believe he is talking about the ego and sending it to the watery grave of death in baptism appears to be an adequate dispensation for this relic.
    Accepting Jesus certainly is the highway, the Holy Spirit the navigator and unity with God the destination.
    Greg

  5. Brother i want to encourage you. Revival is coming. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. Seeds have been sown and we need to pray for those seeds. Ecclesiastes 11:5-6

  6. Thanks for such thoughtful replies! I’ve also received some very encouraging email–thanks for that too! I am very hopeful for the trajectory of The Well…I’m just not someone who will use his conviction about God’s sovereignty as a pretext for coasting—I love to labour for the Kingdom of God!

    Some helpful things I gleaned from the comments above:
    from Cliff: Pray, pray, and pray….keep in step with God’s movements
    from Jill: stay creative, keep thinking ‘outside of the box’
    from Rebekah: stay positive, stay on the current track, keep praying
    from Greg: check the ego at the door, be marked by fruit of the Spirit
    from Kelly: stay hopeful, trust God’s timing, pray

    Thanks!

  7. Bryn, be encouraged: what you are doing *is* making a Kingdom difference. Were I able, I would be bringing people; be sure I am doing all I can to send people your way! Once that video is made, let me link it to my blog so I can do more for you.

    Sunday afternoons and Mondays are often those days when pastors are most inclined to throw in the towel. I know you’re not thinking of anything so radical, but discouragement is the devil’s greatest tool, and he seems to like to use it on pastors in the time right after worship. As you note, lives are being changed; I could see that when I visited. There’s a palpable ‘buzz’ at The Well that just isn’t there in many – most? – churches. People are intentional about making an impact, about welcoming the timid, about engaging people for the Lord.

    The numbers will come. Perhaps some basic teaching to the regulars about the inherent value of bringing friends will help. Something like 95% of people who come to a church and stay make their first visit on the arm of a friend. Get someone who came to Christ that way to give a testimony – it’ll have a greater impact that way.

    Get those attractive cards out in people’s hands. If you try newspaper advertising, even in the Guardian, don’t advertise where other churches do. Most people who read “the church page” in any newspaper are people who go to church…not your target audience! Take some cards to Tyndale, etc., and see what kind of response you get. Getting the word out happens best by word of mouth, but until that ramps up, colourful advertising really helps. :-)

    Praying for you and this great ministry, my Brother.

    Passionately His,
    Jeff

  8. Hey Bryn;

    Mr. “glass half full” comin’ at you! Remember that week 5 was communion Sunday, and many of our “Well” folk opted for the 10:00 am communion service. Also, take heart in the story about the 11 year old that brought her friend. And the children who told their parents that they wanted to come to the Well, rather than go for a walk with their father. And the young families that we haven’t seen for years, now coming to the Well (including week 5!). One tranformed life is enough to charge me up too, and I counted way more than that on week 5!

    We’ve got a great thing happening! Yes, let’s promote, advertise and spread the word, but let’s always find great joy in the Well, whether we be 50 or 150.

  9. From the other side of the stage…
    Sunday’s energy and engagement of those gathered is still stronger than anything I’ve experienced in a mainline setting. We’ve got families I have never met, coming on a regular basis, and we’re still seeing new to church folks.
    It was so awesome to see one Grandpa moving to the opening Worship set, with his granddaughter. He had just come from the communion service, and joined the rest of his family at the Well. Dad was bopping with his son, and all were engaged in what God was doing.
    True community begins small, and becomes contagious. I am on such a high when I head home on Sundays, even though I should be totally exhausted…
    Thanks for staying true to the vision that God has planted. In this place, and for this time.

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