Living as a Small Church Pastor: Spreading News

What does it mean to you to spread news? What about advertising an event at your church? Does it mean going through the process of contacting two newspapers, several radio stations, or maybe buying advertising time on the local television station?

There are some legitimate ways to spread news about events; however, many of them will cost you far more than they really are worth. If you are new to the advertising game you need to know that there are several ways to advertise you church or church events that don’t cost anything at all.

Two great ways to push events for your church, especially in smaller towns and rural areas involve radio and newspapers. Most radio stations have daily community calendars, and they will promote these events for free. The stations often have a place on their web page to easily drop this information to their community calendar. The second is by sending a press release to your local newspaper. They will often place this short news article about your event on the church page, or some where near community events.

Many people may feel that media is worthless, but I would argue with that fact. In small towns and rural life local radio and a local newspaper are still very effective. The fact is that many people still stay connected to the smaller community through these two media. If you are in a large city these may not work so well, as your information will just be lost among the many different causes a larger city has going on.

In using media, there are a couple of things to always keep in mind. Keep the information simple. Say what you need to, and no more. People will only remember part of the message you are promoting, so keep it simple. Always include the place, time, and reason for the event. People are often more willing to come if they know the purpose of the event before hand. Another thing to remember is to get the information out three weeks ahead. Most newspapers and radio have a two week minimum on getting information to them for a specific day.

If I were asked what the best way to promote events for the small or rural church I would have to say it is word of mouth. Word of mouth has a far greater affect in the small or rural church than many people outside the small community may realize. One of the things every pastor and leader should realize early in coming to a church is who the mouth pieces are.

A lot of people look at the negative affects of the man or woman who likes to share with others around them. It is true that sometimes we have to be careful about sharing information discreetly in the church, especially with someone who likes to share a juicy story. The friendly gossip often is a trial and hindrance in a small church. However, the opposite is true too. A person who likes to talk, and share stories is often the very person you want to pass ideas or event information to.

The fact is that you may minister to a congregation of forty people, but those forty people are related and connected to six to ten people in the community. This is a fact in small and large churches or towns. The difference is that in a large city having 400 people connected to your church and event is only a drop in the bucket, but in a small or rural community this could be a quarter or more of the population. This means that with a small church you can cover a lot of ground in advertising and inviting people into an event. The secondary fact is that a person who likes to share with others will probably not share with only six to ten people, but with twenty or more people. When we share with people who like to talk we are in effect using the greatest advertisement possible.

I encourage you to use care, and learn who to trust with what type of information. While we may want the potluck dinner we host for the local fire department promoted to the world, we may not wish everyone to know if we have a person praying through a personal issue in their life. Some would say that you are using people, but I would say I am using the natural talent God gave someone in sharing for the good God intended it.

I am sure some will argue with me on this issue, but I am learning that in smaller communities people are far more willing to come to an event we host if they are personally invited. The media advertising usually is only reinforcement to the time of the event. So, spread the word and share your events in the ways that best help your efforts for the Kingdom of God.

— Keep on your Journey with Jesus This Week

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