A dear pastor friend of mine recently shared with me his frustration surrounding a failed outreach event at his church.

He has a passion for his church to grow by reaching the community but the last event was a huge expense and it wasn’t well attended.

They didn’t gain any families from it either, which makes it hard to justify doing more events like it.

I completely understand because I have been there.

Our events have been expensive and exhausting with little to show for it. I knew it didn’t have to be this way so I devoted my focus to figuring out how to reach our community.

What I have learned completely changed my view of how churches should market their events and sermon series. Once I engaged the principle I am about to share, I started seeing incredible results.

In The Parable of the Sower, Jesus highlights different responses to the Gospel.  Some seeds fell on the footpath, some fell on shallow soil and others fell among the thorns. But the seeds that fell on fertile soil produced thirty, sixty and even a hundred times fold.

Jesus is talking about the Gospel, but I’m starting to believe this is a principle that applies in many areas of life.  One of these areas is church marketing.

Think of marketing as sowing seeds.

As church leaders, it is important to identify or define the “fertile soil” in your community. Obviously, we think every soul is fertile soil. But not every person is going to respond to the seed you have planted.

Your church has it’s own voice, style and culture. Certain types of people will want to attend your church because of this. Find out who these people are. What stage of life are they in? Do they have children? What are their hobbies?

Once you can answer these questions you have identified your target audience or “fertile soil.”

Knowing who they are allows you to communicate with your target audience with precision and clarity. You can speak to their felt needs when you know exactly whom you are trying to reach.

Your target audience determines where and how you advertise.  Don’t waste any more money on marketing and advertising until you have defined exactly who you are trying to reach.

So with all that in mind, here are 10 questions to ask to help you identity the types of people that will connect the best with your church:

1.  Are you trying to target a male or female?
One megachurch I know said they target the male.  Their theory is, if they get the father, the get the rest of the family too.

2.  What is the typical age of your target?
The church mentioned above targets 33 year old males.

3.  Is your target married?

4.  Do you they have children?

5.  What are their interests/hobbies?
Do they like the NFL, UFC, College Football? Do they play Golf?  Do they like to build things? Pinterest? Do they read?

6.  What is their church background?
This is important because you could be communicating over their heads during services.

7.  What is educational background?
This is important to know, especially in highly affluent areas.

8.  What is their typical occupation?
One church I served at was full of shift workers and engineers so this helped us be more strategic in everything.

9.  What is their financial background?
Do they have disposable income? If so, what do they like to spend it on?

10.  Does your audience lean towards tradition or do they have progressive expectations?

Outreach events, sermon series and even Facebook can be a way to engage with your target audience.

Don’t waste any more time, energy and resources until you know who exactly you are trying to reach.

Several pastors have asked me to put together a training on Facebook marketing so I have agreed.  I will have more info on this in the next week or so.

Justin Trapp

Founder at Ministry Pass
Husband to Tisha, Father to Shiloh and founder of Ministry Pass.
Justin Trapp