by: Allen Domelle
“Spring and Fall campaigns just don’t work in our area.” This is a statement I hear from many preachers. So, instead of trying to figure out a way to have a push for the souls of men, many have settled for having a mediocre church that has very little push for church growth. This has resulted in churches floundering and seeing very few people being saved.
There are others who believe that campaigns are bribery. They believe that using things to get people to church is bribing people, but they fail to look at all that our Saviour used to get people to listen to Him during His earthly ministry. Every miracle that Jesus performed was a campaign to get people to come so they could hear the Gospel. Look at some of the campaigns that Jesus performed. He healed the sick, caused the blind to see, fed the thousands, healed those possessed by devils, cleansed the lepers, filled the nets with a draught of fish, turned water into wine, raised the dead and so many more miracles. Every miracle was a campaign that caused the multitudes to come and see Him, but when they came they heard the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Multitudes were saved because of these campaigns.
Don’t forget the greatest campaign of all. It is the campaign to keep people from going to Hell. God knew that while man was in his sinful state that he would not love God enough to get saved. So, He appealed to the selfishness of man to get him to trust Christ. God offered mankind a place called Heaven if they would accept Christ as Saviour. Was this bribery? Absolutely not! Jesus says in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Heaven is the campaign. He’s offering mansions and the opportunity to go live with Jesus in those mansions if a person will get saved. He says that the only way to get this offer is through Jesus Christ. He says in verse 6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Because of this campaign, many people have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour so they too can receive the free gift of Heaven!
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with a church have a campaign to excite God’s people to push harder to reach more people for Christ. There is nothing wrong with having a campaign so that the lost will want to come to church for a gift all the while hearing of the eternal gift: salvation. Yet, many churches seem to struggle with getting their campaigns to work. Let me show you 6 reasons church campaigns don’t work.
1. We have no resources.
One of the greatest reasons campaigns don’t work is because a church has failed to get new people into church who have fresh contacts who have never been invited. One of the greatest reasons a church needs to have an aggressive soul-winning ministry is for the sake of having new prospects. We can only tap into the resources of our church so many times without exhausting all the friends of those who regularly attend. This is not to say that we shouldn’t continually try to reach our friends and neighbors; however, having new people into a church brings fresh excitement and new prospects that have never been tapped into.
2. Our Sunday schools are anemic.
One of the greatest reasons campaigns don’t work is because the average Sunday school is an albatross that we have to have to be a fundamentalist. Friend, Sunday school is the life blood and heartbeat of a growing church. You will never see your campaigns work until you organize your Sunday school and make it a vital part of your church ministry. Church-wide campaigns work best through the Sunday school. So, if your Sunday school is floundering, then your church campaigns probably won’t work.
3. We promote poorly.
One reason I see many campaigns don’t work is because we are terrible about promoting them. We wait until a couple of weeks before the campaign to start telling our people about it with no excitement, and then wonder why they don’t work. Promoting a campaign starts with planning. If you don’t plan well in advance, then you will promote it poorly. When the campaign is promoted by the pastor, then he must be excited about its prospects and ask the Sunday school teachers to be equally excited about it. You will never get the people to believe this campaign is worthy of extra effort if you promote it as a “by-the-way” announcement.
4. Refusing to have fun
Some of the greatest campaigns I have ever been a part of are the campaigns where the leaders were as involved in it as the church members. You must be willing to come out of yourself if you want your campaign to work. I have watched pastors take a pie in the face, get dunked in a dunking tank, shave their head because they reached an attendance goal and so much more. These campaigns worked because the church didn’t refuse to have fun. If you refuse to have fun with your campaigns, then you will continue to see them fail. You cannot be a stick-in-the-mud and expect them to work. A little embarrassment is worth it if the result is souls getting saved and people being added to the church.
5. Overusing a campaign
Variety is the spice of life, and it is also the key to making campaigns work. You will notice that Jesus didn’t use the same campaign each time, but he continually used different ideas. Just because a campaign was successful last year does not mean that it will be successful this year. The newness of a novel campaign idea will lose its relevance if you continually use it. I’m not saying you can use it again, but I am saying that variety will help your campaigns to be fresh for you and your people.
6. Lack of belief
If you don’t think a campaign is going to work, then why would you plan it? Your people will pick up on your disbelief. A salesman who doesn’t believe in his product will not sell his product, and a pastor who doesn’t believe in his campaign will never sell it to the church. Furthermore, church members need to believe it will work. Stop being the doubting Thomas and realize it will work if you will believe it. Stop telling everyone that it won’t work and jump in with your heart to make it work. Most attendance-building campaigns fail because people just don’t believe it will work.
If campaigns are about reaching the souls of men, and they are, then we had better find some ways to make them work. Let me give you five ideas of how to make your campaigns work.
1. Keep your campaign unique.
The uniqueness of a campaign will help to peak the attention of the church. There is nothing wrong with copying a campaign another church had, but make your campaign unique to your church. Likewise, Sunday school teachers need to make their campaigns unique to their class. You may have a church-wide campaign theme, but tailor make the campaign for your class so that the people will want to be involved.
2. Make it interesting for everyone.
When preparing a campaign, make it possible for everyone to benefit from being involved. Some people don’t get involved because the campaign has no interest or possibility for them to get something. Think about each person in your church or Sunday school class and make it possible so that any of them can benefit from being involved.
3. Prepare the people ahead of time.
Preparation is the key to success. It would be good for the pastor to plan his campaigns several months in advance. Furthermore, give the Sunday school teachers ample time to prepare their campaigns for their class. If you are a Sunday school teacher, you can also plan ahead with your campaigns and adapt it to the main campaign when you find out its theme. Preparation always helps to build excitement.
4. Work your campaign.
The only way your campaign is going to work is that you must work it. Just having a campaign won’t make it work, but everyone must work it for it to succeed. Church member, don’t sit at home while others are out working. Get involved yourself! Total involvement is necessary for it to work. When inviting people to the church, use each part of the campaign to peak their interest to come. That is why you are having a campaign.
5. Praise those who are working the campaign.
We often try to shame people into getting involved instead of praising those who are involved. People like to see their name on a piece of paper when it is good, so use that desire by showing the names of individuals who have brought someone. Praise will go much further than shaming individuals.
Church campaigns are an important way of finding prospects. Once you have your list of prospects from the visitors who attended, then go after them while it is fresh. Don’t let their names sit on a desk for months and then wonder why your Sunday school campaigns don’t work. Spend much time in prayer asking God to bless your campaign, and then get involved and go work it so that you can reach more people for the Saviour. Many people have been saved through church campaigns, so don’t let that tool sit idly on the shelf because you don’t believe a campaign will work. Find the reason your campaigns fail and change them. The souls of men are worth your effort to make church campaigns worth it.
Allen Domelle is the editor of the Old Paths Journal which is more than just a Christian’s publication. It is an excellent place to learn how today’s headlines will forge tomorrow’s laws and statutes. Keep yourself in tune with what is happening around the world, as well as in your own backyard with our daily updates and devotionals.