Pastor Ryan Cavanaugh and his church plant, Mission Church OPC in Merrillville, IN, were looking to take outreach to a more personal level this past Christmas season. Since the church plant currently meets in a building on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University - Merrillville for Sunday worship, they are thinking of ways to make themselves more known within their community.
In late November, Pastor Cavanaugh began collecting supplies for the door hangers and collaborated with the CHEX Office to create outreach materials with which to stuff the bags. The larger flyer was a two sided half-page sheet: one side with a brief paragraph about the church plant, as well as their meeting location, an invitation to their Christmas service, and contact information; the other side with information on Pastor Cavanaugh and a picture of him and his wife. The smaller card was a personal letter from Pastor Cavanaugh discussing Christianity and the Christmas season in general, and offering a invitation to visit the church. Pastor Cavanaugh also placed a small candy cane in each bag.
Why door hangers?
When asked why Mission Church decided to use door hangers in their Christmas outreach, Pastor Cavanaugh said that the purpose was not so much to get people to come to the Christmas service as it was to put themselves (the church plant) in front of the community.
"Why on the door? They have to physically take it off of the door! Why the candy? It motivates them to take the products out of the bag!"
Pastor Cavanaugh also said that the distribution of the bags offered a canvassing opportunity, since people were sometimes outside and they were able to go up to them and give them the door hanger in person. This opened up great conversational opportunities.
Was it "successful"?
One thing that Pastor Cavanaugh kept on saying was that it is often easy for people to get disappointed after an outreach event like this. If no one shows up from one particular outreach method, we tend to push back immediately and assume that it was not "successful." However, in order to get people to visit a church or to do something new often requires that you put it in front of them over and over and over again, in various ways and at various times. It's the classic Rule of 7: you have to put something in front of someone seven different times before they take action.
The main purpose of this outreach event was to let the community know that Mission Church OPC exists and is just around the corner. Pastor Ryan was happy about this event and looks at it as the beginning of a larger effort to get to know their community and help the community get to know them. He is already planning for their next "Big Day" in February: Pastor Cavanaugh intends to distribute more door hangers in the same neighborhood and send out mailers as well. When the members of the community receive the mailers, they will start to see them in multiple places in multiple ways -- from the door hangers to the mailers to the Facebook ads they run regularly.
We know that God blesses the outreach and gospel-sharing of his people and his church, and Pastor Cavanaugh is excited to continue working with his church plant to build relationships in their community.
If you are interested in producing materials for door hangers like Pastor Cavanaugh's, you can contact our office at (800) 382-3423 to find out how we can help you!