by Roger Walter, Senior Pastor of the Adventist Community Church of Vancouver
At the Adventist Community Church of Vancouver, WA, we do a lot of evangelism. We usually do 2 series a year and we are baptizing about 30-40+ per year. As time has gone on, the numbers haven’t been as much as we’d like to see. We’re getting the same response rate as anyone else to our advertising – that’s about 1-2 per 1000 brochures mailed out. A year ago, we took a sabbatical from evangelism and skipped our spring meeting and focus on a quality fall series. We began designing a brand new advertising theme in conjunction with SermonView (www.sermonview.com)
We’ve been able to document that it roughly costs $215 to bring each person through the doors of the church for evangelism. So, if you want a crowd of 200 people, you know you have to spend considerable amounts of money. However, we’ve also been able to refine our mailings to know where people are responding from and where they aren’t. So, we’ve stopped sending to areas that are not responding. This has cut down on our mailing costs, while still keeping the numbers up for opening night.
The best series we’ve done in recent years, brought out 2 people for every 1000 brochures we’ve mailed out. But this most current series, we had over 300 people show up opening night which was a response rate of 4/1000. We didn’t do any Facebook advertising, which hasn’t worked at all in the past anyway. We did very little online – not much expense there. We mainly put 95% of our budget into advertising.
The nice part is, even though we doubled our response rate, we cut by more than half, our cost to bring people through the doors. For this seminar, we spent $86/person to get them through the doors. This kind of information and response rate is incredible in today’s climate.
We credit it to a lot of prayer of course – we spent 40 days in prayer leading up to the launch of this seminar. We also had a very current events theme that touched a nerve. I put it out there for you, because you can utilize this brochure too and get a crowd – but your messages better back up the theme! This was a lot of work to get ready for.
Our theme for this current series was “Islam and Christianity.” This is not the same kind of series that Tim Roosenburg does, rather this is more of a “here’s what Islam is saying/doing/believing, here’s what Christians believe and here’s what the Bible says.” This is a fairly traditional series. But that was okay, because we weren’t setting out to be the most cutting edge, we were setting out to be the most effective.
It’s turned into our best response rate of any series we’ve done in the last 7 years for sure, but probably much longer too. It was nice to see a full house while preaching again!