The 4 “R’s” In a Successful Campaign
I am the church bus director at North Valley. I have had the privilege to serve in this capacity for the past eight years. In that time, I have helped to lead and organize approximately twenty special campaigns for our bus and Sunday school ministries.
Why do we run campaigns? In a previous article, I encouraged folks to “Jumpstart their Bus Ministry with a Campaign.” Our church has run spring and fall campaigns every year for more than three decades. These campaigns are usually four to six weeks long. In addition, we will often sprinkle in other, shorter campaigns throughout the year. A successful campaign takes a significant investment of time and money to organize and execute.So, why do we go through the effort? Is it so that our workers and riders can have fun? Campaigns are fun, but fun is not the purpose of a church campaign. Is it to create excitement in the ministry? They can be exciting, but excitement is not the sole reason to hold a campaign. So why have we, at North Valley, continued to make this investment of time and money each year?
I pondered this question recently as I prepared for our “Back 2 Basics” Spring Campaign here at North Valley that was held during the month of April. I would like to give you the four main reasons why I believe that churches, bus ministries, Sunday schools, and any other evangelistic ministry should run annual campaigns:
1. To Reach New People
I believe this should be the main purpose of any church campaign. Our Savior’s purpose for coming to earth was “to seek and to save that which was lost.” God’s Word gives the challenge to “go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Campaigns are a great time to concentrate a church-wide effort for this worthy cause. Over the four Sundays of April, we welcomed more than 600 first-time visitors comes to our church. We saw an average increase of 451 more people coming to church each week in April 2009 when compared to 2008. During this campaign, we were blessed to have the highest days of overall attendance, car attendance, bus attendance, visitors, salvations, and baptisms in the year of 2009. Basically, we had the greatest days of reaching people in this calendar year during our recent campaign. This makes all the planning and investment in the campaign worthwhile!
While the church should keep the focus of reaching people constantly in the forefront, campaigns offer an opportunity for a heightened focus and emphasis among the members. God blesses the church that is busy seeking to tell as many as possible the good news of the Gospel. Campaigns can remind us of the importance of this.
It may be that I feel so strongly about this point because I am a living example of the impact that a campaign can have. I was reached for Christ through a “Big May” campaign at North Valley in 1988. My mom was invited by one of her co-workers. We attended the Big Day, and I was saved on that morning, after hearing Pastor Trieber preach from John 3:3. Had Pastor Trieber not led the church membership to invite everyone they knew to church on that third Sunday in May, it is very likely that I would never have come to know Christ as my personal Savior. How different my life today would be and how hopeless my eternity would be. I thank God that campaigns can motivate us to reach new people!
2. To Reclaim Unfaithful People
People Campaigns give us a good “excuse” to follow up on a prospect or member who has grown unfaithful. Many times, when a person stops coming to church for an extended period of time, we can feel somewhat awkward continually asking them to come back. Campaigns give us a good reason to contact them once again.
Bus workers can go to that teenager who hasn’t come to church in a few months and invite him to come back for the “big day” tomorrow. It is another “hook” to try to reclaim those who have stopped coming for one reason or another.
As I mentioned, we are in the midst of our annual Spring Campaign at North Valley. We have seen the highest days of church attendance, bus attendance, visitors, and baptisms for the year of 2009 over the past three weeks. Just yesterday, one of our bus captains told me of a “visitor” who came back to church yesterday after more than ten years. He used to ride our buses as a child. Now, he is in his twenties, and he was “reclaimed” yesterday. Many stories like this can be told after every one of our campaigns.
3. To Reward Faithful People
A campaign usually consists of some sort of weekly promotion. These promotions are a good reward for the faithful bus rider or Sunday school child who is always in his spot. They create fond memories for that child to associate with his childhood in church. I do not believe that this is the most important reason for a campaign, but it is a good reason.
4. To Revive Church Workers
Our bus workers go CRAZY during our spring and fall campaigns. They show up in droves to our Saturday morning Faithfulness Rally, decked out in their team’s colors. They decorate the auditorium where we meet. They write poems, print signs, draw banners, and bribe the bus director with various items each week in order to receive spirit points. There is a spirit of excitement each week of our campaign. This excitement spills over into their weekly soul winning and visitation time and shows up in the increased attendance and decision results on Sunday.
Without fail, our Sunday school teachers put extra effort and attention into the number of doors they knock, students they visit, phone calls they make, and correspondence they send. Because of this, their classes are strengthened.
Good churches are made up of godly, faithful workers. However, even the best workers can become complacent and stagnant in their service at times. This happens to all of us, if we are not careful. Campaigns are a great time to revive and reignite these good people in the good work that they are doing.
Yes, campaigns require a significant investment of time, money, and manpower. However, if you know why you are running the campaign and if you aim at the right targets, you will find them to be extremely beneficial in the work you are trying to do for God! God bless you as you serve Him. If there is anything that we can ever do to be a help to you and your ministry, please don’t hesitate to contact us!