So Many Outreach Ideas, So Little Time…

One thing that has remained constant in my transition from the corporate world to working with churches and ministries, is the conflict between our desires and dreams for outreach (or business marketing) and the time and resources we have to dedicate to it.

In the business world, it’s often easy to point to the numbers and identify what’s working and what isn’t from a profit perspective – invest in what’s working, move along from what isn’t.

For churches and ministries looking to reach people with the Gospel, though, it’s a little different. Today, I’m going to share the one question I ask to help prioritize how our time, treasures and talents get spent when it comes to outreach and church marketing.

What is our goal, and does this (event, ad placement, website investment, etc.) help us achieve it in the most efficient way?

The catch is that the goal must be a SMART one. Maybe you’ve heard that acronym before. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic and Time-Bound. The goal cannot be cloudy or ambiguous, or even a wide-reaching mission statement. It must be clear and concise.

For instance, maybe your outreach goals in the past have been to simply “reach more people with the Gospel.” While this is a great motivation, and should continue to be central to our purpose, our actual goal should be a little more well, specific.

  • Specific – How do we want to reach people with the Gospel? 1:1 conversation? Digitally through a blog post? A Facebook ad? In-person worship attendance? Bible Information Class? A recorded sermon? Pick the right fit for your congregation.
  • Measurable – Let’s pick a number. How many people do you want to reach with the Gospel? 1,000? 10,000? A million?
  • Agreed Upon – This simply means that leadership has buy-in on the goal. That you all agree that it’s a good goal for your congregation to rally behind.
  • Realistic – Now, back to the number for a second – sharing the Gospel with 1,000,000 people would be awesome, but for many congregations, it’s not quite realistic, at least not in person. Pick a number that makes sense for how you plan to reach people, and the target area you work within.
  • Time-Bound – Give yourself a deadline. By when do you want to achieve this goal?

Putting this criteria in place, our goal has gone from a motivational rally cry to something we can actually get to work on. Maybe it looks like this:

To reach 5,000 people with the Gospel message through digital means, including Facebook ads, our website and email marketing.

Now, this goal lets us focus our budget on things like our website, an email marketing tool and Facebook ads, and the content we’ll need to support those things. With that goal in mind, we can develop specific strategies and tactics that will help us be successful on those platforms.

Adding such definition to our goals takes a big, exciting idea and turns it into something we can act on. It also helps us focus how we’ll spend our time and budget.

What are you goals this year, and how are you specifically working to accomplish them?