My congregation, St John’s Lutheran Church, in Lakeville, Minnesota has been trying new things. Just this year: we have entered in the Narrative Lectionary, aligned education and worship with a storytime model, and on Wednesdays in the Fall, there will be a new casual worship service. It’s been a full year!
But we still old school it! Over the last year, we as a staff have created invitational and informational materials to hang on doors. Lakeville is a growing suburb outside St Paul, MN, and behind the church, there are housing developments sprouting up. Door hangers still reach people.
In the spring, we created a bag inviting households to the Palm Sunday breakfast and Egg Hunt, to the events of Holy Week, and Easter. On the back, the invite included information to Vacation Bible School. What resulted from our delivery efforts was the largest attendance for Palm Sunday since 2011 and a 16% increase in VBS participation. I am sold in this old school method.
Now with Rally Day in a few weeks, we set out again to invite St John’s neighbors to church. The bag included a flyer about fall programming, Rally Day events with a petting zoo, painting, and puppets (of course, a bag of animal crackers!), and special upcoming events at St John’s like a Veritas concert and a special screening of Pittsburgh to Paris.
For just a few dollars, we added steps to our fitbit counters and shared a little bit of church love with our neighbors. Maybe that is the mystery to church growth? That the path forward for congregations is to combine a little bit of new methods with a little bit of old practices.