A girl with her fingers in her ears, trying to not listen!

5 Communication Strategies to Reach UnbelieversLast Updated: May 24th, 2024

We live in a culture that’s increasingly hostile to Christianity, which makes it challenging for churches to connect with individuals who may not be receptive to traditional religious messaging. As the number of “nones” (those who identify with no religious affiliation) continues to rise and church attendance among younger generations declines, it’s crucial for churches to adapt their communication strategies to reach this audience effectively. So, on our recent episode of The Missional Marketing Podcast, Jason and Bart talked with Mark MacDonald, a widely recognized church communications brand strategist and the author of Be Known for Something. In this blog post, we will share the top five tips Mark provided, so your church can connect more effectively with unbelievers in your area. 

1. Create Community-Centered Communication

To bridge the gap between the church and those who aren’t inclined to engage with traditional religious institutions and are not actively seeking spiritual guidance, it’s essential to cultivate a sense of belonging through community-centered messaging. Rather than expecting individuals to come to your church, consider taking the church to them by organizing events and activities that cater to their interests and needs. This could look like hosting a city-wide event, organizing an outreach initiative, or encouraging your congregation to help their neighbors through intentional acts of service. By fostering a sense of belonging and connection, churches can create opportunities for meaningful interactions and build relationships with those who may not otherwise engage with organized religion.

A community group planting trees

2. Tell Stories with Purpose

Storytelling can captivate and engage audiences in a way that traditional lectures or sermons may not. By incorporating the incredibly compelling narratives of Scripture into your lessons and using relatable illustrations in your communications, your church can make its message more accessible to a broader audience. Whether through personal testimonies, anecdotes, or multimedia video content, storytelling allows churches to convey complex theological concepts in a way that resonates with individuals on a deeper level. Stories are also proven to stick in our minds much longer than other forms of content, so by weaving your message into an engaging story, you are providing a way for your church to come to mind later on when that person is spiritually curious or wants to try religion for the first time.

Quote: Stories build bridges between people

3. Leverage Social Media Engagement

In today’s digital age, social media platforms offer churches a powerful tool for connecting with individuals who may not be reached through traditional channels. By adopting an engaging and authentic approach to social media, churches can foster meaningful interactions and build relationships with their target audience. From sharing uplifting messages to actively engaging with followers, social media provides churches with a platform to connect with individuals where they are and share their message in a way that is relevant and accessible. To do this, focus on creating content that connects with the felt needs of your target audience and aligns with their values. Share inspirational stories of life change from within your congregation, and communicate your church’s mission and vision by showcasing it in multimedia content that catches the eye and captures the heart. Then, engage with viewers by responding to their comments, messages, and feedback to initiate a personal relationship where they feel heard and cared for. This can later translate to face-to-face interactions because these positive connections make them feel safe to walk through your church doors.

4. Extend Low-Pressure Invitations

For individuals who may be hesitant to engage with organized religion, it’s important to offer low-pressure, non-confrontational invitations. Instead of explicitly inviting them to church services or events, focus on creating casual interactions and connection opportunities. This removes barriers that may otherwise keep them away. This could be through a concert, a game night, a sale, an art fair, a carnival, a youth event, or a party thrown by several local organizations working together. Whether through community events or activities that appeal to a wide range of interests, churches can provide individuals with the opportunity to engage with their community on their own terms without feeling pressured to commit to specific beliefs or practices. Rather than imposing your beliefs, focus on building genuine connections and friendships with those in your community who attend. 

A group of friends living out their daily lives

5. Demonstrate Relevance to Daily Life

To effectively engage with those who may not see religion as relevant to their daily lives, churches must demonstrate the practical and tangible benefits of faith. By addressing real-world concerns and offering meaningful solutions rooted in biblical teachings, churches can position themselves as valuable resources for individuals seeking guidance and support. Whether by providing practical guidance or sharing real-life examples of individuals whose lives have changed for the positive as a result of their faith, churches can illustrate the relevance and significance of biblical beliefs in everyday life. You can do this by:

  • Identifying common challenges or issues your target audience faces and offering practical guidance and support rooted in biblical teachings.
  • Highlighting the ways in which faith can provide comfort, guidance, and hope in times of difficulty or uncertainty.
  • Showcasing genuine examples of individuals whose lives have been positively impacted by their faith and illustrating the relevance and significance of Christian beliefs in everyday life.

How to Reach Unbelievers in your Community

Effective communication with those who aren’t listening to more traditional avenues for spiritual messaging requires churches to adopt a proactive and empathetic approach. To achieve this, starting by truly listening to your community’s felt needs and responding in a way that is sincere and authentic. Prioritize nurturing a growing connection, incorporating storytelling, and ensuring relevance to the listener. By embracing these strategies and adapting your communication tactics to meet the needs and preferences of those in your community who need Jesus but don’t want Him yet, churches can foster meaningful connections and make a positive impact in their communities. To learn more about how your church can utilize these tips to propel your communications strategy forward and maximize its impact in your community, book a coaching call with our Missional Marketing professionals today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *