How does your church reach new residents in your area? How do you contact new neighbors to invite them to church? Here’s a great idea that your church could use to connect with new residents in your city or neighborhood when they move in.
When other believers move to a new town, many of them have trouble finding a new local church. Some even slip away from connecting with a local body of believers because of this barrier.
When non-Christians move to a new town, how can your church welcome them to the community in a meaningful way? Hopefully, this idea will address both of those opportunities.
Some churches like to send postcards or invites to new residents shortly after they move in. The problem with this method is that it’s ineffective, impersonal and costly.
Ineffective because you’re sending hundreds if not thousands of postcards during each mailing, and chances are, nearly everyone is going to throw it in the trash after a quick glance and never think of it again. They have many other things on their mind, you’re going to have to grab their attention a bit better than that!
Costly - Think of the cost involved in identifying hundreds of new residents, designing and printing postcards, and mailing them.
Impersonal - When a family has just moved to a new town, they are looking for relationships and connection, not church. Let’s just be honest. So, how can your church do this better?
And let’s not forget about the violation or intrusion that some non-Christian residents will feel when wondering, “how does this church know I just moved in”? “Are they a cult?”
Enter Gift Baskets!
But here’s how it works, and you’ll thank us for this!
Rather than leaving this up to one person or a small team of individuals to identify hundreds of new residents, get your entire church involved. Ask everyone in your church to be on the lookout for houses being sold in the neighborhood and on their streets. Ask them to take note when they see a new neighbor moving in.
Rather than sending postcards, have the church cover the cost of a gift basket. An actual gift basket. A nice welcome basket that someone would actually enjoy receiving. Then, provide the church member who lives nearby and spotted this new resident with the opportunity to hand deliver the basket, meet their new neighbors, and begin a personal connection with them.
If 1 out of 1,000 postcards results in a family visiting your service and quietly walking away unnoticed because they didn't find immediate personal connection, then imagine if 1 out of every 1 gift baskets results in your church (the people who are the church) building a new friendship with a new family! How much more effective would this be?
When's the last time you or a member of your church said, "Wow, sitting in this office once a month putting labels on postcards and never seeing the fruit of that investment brings me so much joy!"
With gift baskets, you are:
- empowering your entire church to reach out to new families
- giving your church members the opportunity to see the fruit of their labor (through starting a new friendship), which encourages them and inspires them to serve more
- helping your members build stronger community with others
Isn't it awkward randomly knocking on a door and giving the new resident a gift basket from my church?
Well, is it awkward to knock on a new resident's door and give them a plate of cookies or a casserole? (We don't really do that much anymore, we seem to have lost our care for others.)
When delivering the gift basket, perhaps in some situations it would be appropriate to say that the gift basket is from your church. In other situations, perhaps it would be more appropriate to not draw too much attention to who paid for the gift basket. Regardless, the importance is this:
- The church member giving the gift basket is giving it out of genuine neighborly care to meet a new neighbor and make them feel welcome.
- The church member giving the gift basket is now committing to being intentional about building a friendship with their new neighbor. Maybe this friendship results in that new neighbor becoming a believer and joining your church. Or maybe this friendship lasts 15 years and that neighbor wants nothing to do with God. Regardless, the member giving the gift basket is being the body of Christ and looking for opportunities to be on mission in their neighborhood.
Consider: What is your goal? To impersonally promote a high quality production? Or to enable the people of your church to be the hands and feet of Jesus, reaching into the lives of their neighbors, and seeing new residents drawn to something much deeper and more powerful than a church service or a church program - personal connection.