Excerpt #9: The Personal Invitation
In conjunction with the release of our new book about men’s discipleship ministry, No Man Left Behind, we are publishing 12 excerpts to give you a taste of the book. This one is from Chapter 9, “Create Momentum by Providing Value.”
Chapter 9 of No Man Left Behind is all about creating momentum. It takes so much energy to get something going, doesn’t it? This excerpt covers one of the most powerful, yet often overlooked or trivialized factors to create momentum.
If You Want Men To Come You Have To Ask Them
Get ready. You are about to read a foolproof “marketing plan” to get the men of your church to come to your next event. Ready? Here it is: First, create a four-color flyer for your event with cutting edge graphics and hand it out to every man. Then make an animated PowerPoint presentation to show on the screen before every service starting two months before the event. You’ll need to run some radio advertisements on the local Christian stations. Next, go out and purchase at least one billboard on every major artery leading to your church to advertise your event. Go to the local airfield and pay for a skywriter so that the week before your event every man leaving church can look up and see “Men’s BBQ Next Friday” written in the sky. Finally, slip your pastor a few extra bucks to make an announcement from the pulpit. Everybody knows that whatever the pastor tells the men to do, they’ll do.
Okay, so by now you’ve realized that the plan above is not only a little expensive, but probably not effective either. (That’s including the pulpit announcement, by the way.) It’s just a formula for getting the guys to come who were going to attend anyway.
If you want new men to come, you must add one strategy to your promotions: personal invitations. All of your flyers, announcements, and PowerPoint slides accomplish one thing: they make it more likely that a man will say “yes” when someone asks him to go. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Think about how most men get saved: most don’t drive down the street, see one of those “God billboards” and go, “Wow. I need to ask Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior.” No, someone spent time explaining the gospel to them, and then asked them if they would like to accept Christ. Men need to be invited – personally. They will come to something with a friend they would never go to alone.
David is on the leadership team at his church. They decided to host a father and child activity day one Saturday afternoon. They put announcements in the bulletin, sent emails, even had the pastor mention it from the front. And when Saturday came, the leadership team gathered to greet and serve the men and children coming. They waited. They waited some more. In the end, besides themselves, exactly nobody – zero men – came. (David was thinking about applying for The Guinness Book of World Records for least successful church men’s event.)
At the time they had already scheduled a bowling night for January. Though a bit dispirited, they decided to go through with their plan. One of the leaders had suggested making the bowling night a competition. They recruited 11 ‘captains’ who were each responsible for inviting four other men to be on their team. The night of the event, 54 men showed up – the most they had ever had for this type of men’s activity. (They gave bonus pins for team members who did not attend church regularly – and had 11 unchurched men at the event.)
Why did it work? They only had to sign up 11 men for the event, then those 11 went out and personally recruited the other 43. If you want men to come, you have to personally invite them.
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,
Pat Morley, Ph.D.