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Why Don't CREASTERS Come Back After Christmas?

If you have ever spent any time with a church staff in early January or the two weeks after Easter, the conversation around the break room table goes something like this: “We had a ton of visitors this year, biggest worship week ever… why aren’t they coming back?”
That is the lament of every church that did a great job planning for a Christmas Eve or Easter Sunday, and then stopped! Twice a year, the bi-annual creature called the CREASTER dresses up and drags the family to church. And then, twice a year, in seven days like clock-work, the CREASTER falls back into their regularly scheduled weekend lives, anywhere but church. But many of them have been heard to comment on their way out the door, that “they really enjoyed (fill in the blank: music, sermon, etc.).”
How do we answer the vexing question, what will it take to get a return visit from the CREASTERS? Unfortunately, the ability to motivate anybody to do anything is pretty much out of our control. Personal, family, or career circumstances can play a part in compelling someone to come to church after one of these holidays as can a million other factors. So, what can we do?
But, there are some things we can do as church leaders to create compelling reasons to draw CREASTERS into a closer relationship, following Jesus. Here are three ways to create a compelling strategy to attract CREASTERS out of season:
1) Plan a comprehensive campaign before, during, and AFTER the holiday. The key to planning a comprehensive campaign is to plan through the season and to link to the next season. Let’s use Christmas for example. I would suggest you develop compelling messages during Advent to start and incorporate a Biblical theme with graphics that are not too 1970’s church graphics/clipart. Implement an advertising plan (that you budgeted for already) that can include billboards, direct mail, invitation cards, and social media inviting people to worship during the season, culminating in Christmas Eve. It’s a great idea to plan a community outreach service project that the whole congregation can participate in that reflects the mission and values of your church. I recommend you start planning your calendar and identifying ideas around the themes and events during Advent no later than August to give you plenty of time to develop your creative elements.
2) Offer compelling worship, opportunities to serve the community, AFTER the holiday. Continuing our Christmas example, instead of stopping on Christmas Eve, make sure you have your best sermon series idea and a special service/growth/non-worship events planned for January and/or February. Obviously, the New Year marks a new beginning for many people, so offer studies, workshops, or events that will enable people to take next steps in their lives, not only spiritually, but physically, emotionally, and even financially. Then invite your Christmas Eve guests to engage with worship and these special events with a handout card or special bulletin insert.
3) Promote and equip your people to invite and welcome guests. Once that you have scheduled a full slate of compelling worship, service, and growth, then it is important to let the community know what’s up. Advertise as your budget allows, and yes, properly targeted direct mail still works. Another effective promotion is motivating your people to invite their friends and family to join them at church. Equip them with invitation cards or promotional items, provide shareable social media posts and emails to make it easy for them to share and invite.
In our next blog post we will talk about linking to the next season which will help you begin planning 9 and even 12 months at a time. Now let’s go out there and compel some CREASTERS to love Jesus!!!

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