This year our church is trying something new to invite people and greet them when they come. I’m sharing this idea here because it can be done by any church of any size. And it’s not too late for you to do it this year.
Plus, it’s fun, it’s personalized and it’s free!
Over the years, we spent a lot of time and money creating and printing Easter invitation flyers. Then we’d run an ad (at yet more expense) in the crowded Easter section of the neighborhood magazine or newspaper. It didn’t work.
With social media, we changed our tactics. We started creating our own flyers and making them available for church members to post on their social media pages. Not only was it free but, since people are always putting stuff like that on social media anyway, it felt less like advertising and more like chatting with friends.
This year, we’re taking it a step further. In addition to creating a Good Friday/Easter flyer for the church, we’re helping everyone create their own personalized invitation.
In today’s post, I’ll show you how we’re doing it. It’s completely free and can work for any church that has a camera and a computer. And you still have time to get it done for this Easter.
Set Up a Photo Booth
Yesterday, after church, we set up a photo booth. We’ll have it set up on youth night and next Sunday, too. Then we asked the congregation to come by after the service to pose for some pictures. As you can see in the ones I’ve added here, it’s simple, but fun – and it isn’t actually inside a booth.
We used a pastel-colored, retro backyard loveseat, then added a side table with an antique-style light bulb. You can use what works for you, but I encourage you to follow a few simple rules about the photo-taking process:
- Don’t have people stand against a wall (unless the police line-up look is what you’re going for)
- Ask one person to be in charge – someone who has an eye for photos
- Take several shots of each person / group
- Mix up the groups – individuals, couples, families, friends, all kids, all youth, all seniors, etc.
- Leave enough room around the photo edge to crop and add your info
Have Fun With the Sign
We used a white board. You can use anything from a chalk board to cardboard, to a piece of paper. Have fun with it. But make sure the words are large, legible and hand-written. Everything in the photo should be personalized, not computerized.
As you can see from the photos in this post, we asked them to write a word or short phrase on the whiteboard that describes what our church – Cornerstone – means to them. Then we took a photo of them holding that white board up to the camera.
Add Your Church Info to the Photos
After taking the photos, we added the words “Cornerstone is…” at the top, and our church website in the bottom corner.
I recommend not adding any more info than that. Maybe a logo, but that’s all. And even that should be subtle. Anything more clutters it up and gives it an advertising feeling.
The people are what matter, so make them the stars of it.
Post Them Online
Don’t email the photos. That takes too much time and it limits who’ll see them. Post them where everyone can see them, like your church Facebook page, so they can find, copy and repost their photo to their own Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or wherever. (Your church isn’t on social media? You need to be. Now. Click here to read why.)
This is also a great time to be sure your church’s Facebook page and/or website is up-to-date. Including all the Easter info, of course.
And please, get those photos posted right away or you might as well not do it at all. Especially if you’re taking photos this coming Sunday. Every day you wait gives people that much less time to make them useful.
Greet People On Easter With Your Smiling Faces – Both Real and Digital
On Easter Sunday, in addition to actual smiling greeters, we’ll use our projector and screen to have those photos rotating before and after the service as a way of welcoming people to the church.
If your church doesn’t have a projector, print them on a bulletin board. Or borrow a laptop or iPad – maybe even a couple of them – and have them situated in the lobby with the photos rotating on them. It will be gathering place and conversation starter. And it will show people how your church is a community of people, not just a building that people dress up to visit on Easter.
This idea is completely new to us, so I’ll tell you how it worked after Easter has come and gone. If you want to give it a shot, let us know how it works for you, too.
So what do you think? Is this something your church might want to try? If so, let us know how it goes for you.
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
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