22 Aug Why Churches can grow with USP during COVID?
Why churches need USP
Why do churches grow with USP (Unique Selling Point)?
Many churches need to grow. A large number of church congregations are not. They are not attracting families with young children or teens to be able to continue the ongoing needs of a church organization.
This is not true, however, for all churches. Some are booming. There is one local church with 80 children attending their Sunday school program. Another has a pool table and board games in their lounge for teenagers. Pastors still preach from the same bible but know how to cater to the needs of today’s society. When they use various forms of social media to get and keep their community engaged, on top of other amenities, they have figured out their Unique Selling Point (USP)!
Churches grow with USP and with the changing society
What attracts a person to one style church but not another? That is the fundamental question being asked by Pastors. They have a traditional format that worked for many years. Adult members brought their children to church, children grew and became teenagers who attended retreats and teen church summer camp. Teens became young adults who had lifelong friends in their faith community and they married and attended the same church as their parents. What has changed is we are a more mobile society. We are also a social media society. With these challenges, churches need to re-evaluate their reasons for not thriving. Carey Nieuwhof suggests these top 10 very possible reasons your church isn’t growing.
Churches with a welcoming USP will grow
Why are the non-denominational churches attracting newcomers and building and retaining existing members? Why are some traditional churches learning and using new approaches? They listen to the needs of their congregation and do something about it. They create the welcoming family atmosphere that today’s families are looking for. Families don’t ask for entertainment during the prayer service, (even though it may look like it) but less structure, more flexibility, lots more contemporary music, with words and pictures flashed up onto a big screen to be able to sing and clap and raise arms freely in praise! With COVID-19, the singing and praising is being done at home, or at a facility that looks less like a church than a large gathering place where participants wear masks and social distance. The purpose of the worship leader is to give options during this pandemic that include services via Facebook Live to reach, not only your usual attendees, but a vast audience of believers online. Above all, they know their congregation and potential new congregants, want flexible online adult bible study zoom gatherings, and much more, all due to their busy lifestyles. Some churches have added self-serve coffee and bagels because they know a lot of families run out the door without eating breakfast. The churches allow them to carry their coffee and bagel into the church sanctuary so they can nibble and sip during the sermon. For the time being, due to COVID-19, this mingle and eating area has been closed but will be expected to reopen when it is safe. In the not too recent past, many weekly bible studies were held at individuals homes and included participants bringing potluck food to share. Again this is stopped temporarily but was an important social gathering. How does your church invite new faces at the door on Sunday morning? How can traditional churches compete?
Church Board can start the process of change
A first step is to sit with your Board President and Church Council. Discuss why churches need USP to grow. Let them know it is time to make some changes to the way things are done. Then to have a survey where the council fills out an index card, anonymously, with what they feel is the church’s most positive unique selling point, then below that, what is the church’s most needs or opportunity areas. Collect these cards and have an impartial person lead the next part of the meeting.
During this portion of the meeting, set up a whiteboard with three or four sections. Break the index cards into the three or four most common theme. A positive example could be the heading “Children” and some comments from the cards could be, “engaged Children’s Ministry”, “fun-filled learning about faith”, “excited Children’s Leader”. Then write the word opportunities, and list those.
Another section could be “Pastor”, list positive comments, then opportunities.
Once this exercise is completed, it will open some eyes to what is actually on everyone’s minds. This is just a sampling of the church but if the leadership sees these discrepancies, then it is likely throughout the entire church.
Now use your USP and communicate your strengths; work on weaknesses
At this point, focus the meeting, and subsequent meetings, on how the church will retain what it does very well, it’s USP, and what area to improve. The take away will be your USP, telling of the most amazing things your organization stands for and then build on that. Keep it short and sweet and say it often!
Remember, your unique selling point must be shared in order to be known. Write it on your website “About Us” area, add it to your Facebook, include in emails and use it in your blog.
What is your USP?
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