On Saturday, March 18th, I expect to speak to the good people at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Pratt City, Birmingham, AL., where the Reverend Dr. Matthew V. Johnson, Jr. is the senior pastor. I was in Birmingham about three years ago, and I am excited to be coming once again.
Recommended by a dear preacher friend of mine, Reverend Anthony A. W. Motley, pastor of Lindsay Street Baptist Church in Atlanta, I met Reverend Johnson about six months ago. We had coffee and talked about his challenges and how I might be able to help him “get the word out” about his ministry and the many great programs going on at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in the Pratt City Community.
Like many churches these days, his challenges are universal – how can I increase my membership, keep those persons who come to visit for a Sunday or two, keep members engaged and involved, and avoid spending lots of money on advertising. This is a tall order. Admitting that I don’t have the answers to the problems, what I do have is an understanding of how he and his congregation can work together and get started on a strategic solution to solve his challenges. I know I will take the consistent work that is strategically focused on one problem at a time. Persistence, dedication and the love of God are the most important ingredients.
I always start by taking a look at the elements that need fixing — those that we cannot change and those that we can change. Here are a few major questions that are most difficult to answer: Where to look for new members? Based on demographics, what tools do we need to reach them? Who’s on the team to tackle the many tasks? What can we do if our budget is tight? Before we tackle these tasks to get new members, let’s spend some time talking about keeping the ones we have sitting in the pews every Sunday. Current members represent one method of getting new members through “Word-of-Mouth.”
I have a bag of ideas in my brief case; and I have a “text book” that I wrote on Getting the Word Out: How to Market Your Ministry. With that being said, if the team is willing to work, I am certainly willing to help them.
When I return from this presentation in Birmingham, I’ll tell you all what I’ve learned. Each time I speak to a group of enthusiastic members of a church who are ready to roll up their sleeves and try new creative methods of evangelism, I learn something.