Your Church's Most Powerful Outreach Event

Your Church's Most Powerful Outreach Event

Aaron Buer

Digital giving apps and tools

This year, our church is partnering with hundreds of other churches in our area to pull off a city-wide outreach event.

We’re all looking forward to watching God move through this event and we fully expect many people to make decisions to follow Jesus.

However, something I’ve realized in the last few weeks is that this massive outreach event is actually not the most effective outreach event we’ll be a part of this year. And, believe it or not, our most effective outreach event isn’t our weekend worship services, even though, in my humble opinion, they are pretty fantastic.

So, what is our most effective outreach event? Actually, it’s the same as your most effective outreach event. And, it doesn’t matter whether you are a mega-church or a mini-church. The playing field is level. Our most powerful outreach event is the same.

It’s a funeral.

Many of you are probably aware that my church recently lost a staff member in a car accident. Her name was Ashley and she was a fantastic children’s ministry staff, student ministry volunteer and friend.

The last few weeks have been incredibly hard for us. And, of course, our pain pales in comparison to the sense of loss her family is experiencing.

Ashley’s death has been simultaneously the most painful experience of my career as a pastor, and also one of the most meaningful. You see, through Ashley’s funeral we were able to proclaim the message of Jesus to hundreds of people who were listening in a way that many of them never have before.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that her funeral was the most powerful outreach event I’ve ever been part of.

Here’s my point: I believe that hosting and leading funerals is your church’s most powerful outreach event. Funerals should be at the top of your list of priorities and funerals should have access to your best resources.

I’d like to share a few reasons why and then offer a few ideas for how to host funerals really well.

Who Is There

There is a huge segment of the population who will enter a church for only two reasons: weddings and funerals.

Every time your church hosts a funeral, there will likely be a crowd of people who do not identify as followers of Jesus. This is a huge opportunity to share the message of Jesus, especially because many of these people are open to listening in ways that they normally are not.

Many of our church’s regular attenders first experience with our church was a funeral.

Who Is Preaching

A few months ago, I attended a funeral at one of our campuses in which our senior pastor preached a fantastic sermon. Afterward, I asked him about it and he shared a strategy that has stuck with me.

Here’s what he said:

This is exactly what he did in his sermon. He used excerpts from the person’s prayer journal to share the message of Jesus. In Ashley’s funeral, I did the same with excerpts from a testimony she gave at a women’s ministry event.

Of course, it isn’t possible to use this strategy with every funeral because not every funeral is for a person who was a Jesus follower.

However, when it is possible, this strategy can be powerful because the preacher becomes the person everyone is gathered to celebrate and mourn.

What a powerful voice!

Also, by allowing the deceased to share the Gospel, most reservations or objections about preachers and church are removed. Again, this is another reason that funerals are your most powerful outreach event.

Ok. Let’s talk a bit about how to do funerals really well.

1. Hospitality

Something we’ve attempted to do with funerals is leverage our core value of hospitality.

Hospitality is something that most churches are good at. We make people feel welcome when they walk through our doors for a weekend service. We’re good at smiles, handshakes, coffee, cookies, etc.

What we’ve attempted to do as a church is provide the same level of hospitality for the family of the deceased throughout the entire experience, especially the funeral itself. We have recruited a dedicated team of volunteers for funeral services, including greeters, ushers, caterers, facilities, I mean everything.

What if you applied the same level of hospitality to funeral services as you do your weekend services or even turned it up a notch? My guess is that the families you care for would end up saying something like:

Wow! We’re so grateful for how you served us during this time.

This is a powerful expression of the love of Jesus.

2. Care

Churches are typically really good at caring for their own people. We absolutely crush at those online meal plans. We’re great at finding people help with bills, childcare, cheap car repairs, etc. We’re really good at doing this for people in our church.

What if, in situations like a funeral, we just put care services like this together for people, even when they aren’t part of our church?

Hey, just wanted you to know that we have your meals covered for the next month. Someone from our church is going to drop something off every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

What if instead of asking, we just did it? The truth is, very few people will request help from a church they don’t belong to. Also, saying things like this isn't very helpful.

Let us know if there is anything we can do.

Primarily, because it puts the onus on the people who need the help.

Here’s what I’m saying: Just do it.

Just build the meal plan, buy the groceries, call them up and offer free childcare. This sort of action oriented care is a wonderful expression of kindness.

3. Free

Ok. One last idea.

What if we did all these things for free?

I know, I know. It’s crazy and expensive. But, if you agree with me that funerals are our most powerful opportunity for outreach, let’s do all the funerals we can!

What if your church became known as the church in town that will host an excellent funeral for anyone, even people who are not part of your church?

What if you literally advertised this service? What a huge outreach opportunity!

What if every week people who are far from God came through the doors of your church to attend a funeral? How many people would hear the message of Jesus?

Wrap Up

Well, if nothing else, I hope this post encourages you to rethink your strategy for hosting funerals.

I believe funerals deserve our best resources: time, money and people.

We’d love to hear your ideas on how to host funerals with excellence. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Share this Article:

Looking for easy-to-use software to help manage your church?

We'd love to show you what we built!

Join 10,000+ happy churches using Breeze ChMS™.

loves Breeze

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

loves Breeze

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

loves Breeze

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

David P.
loves Breeze
St. Pauls United Methodist Church

Breeze has been incredible. Their customer service, commitment to innovation, and their product are top-notch. I love the features, the ease of use and the mobile applications.

Karen M.
loves Breeze
Hillcrest Church

All of our database needs have been more than met, it's easier to use than the last database we had, and the price is amazing - what a value this has been to our church! All of our staff can use this software and they do regularly. We use it to track…literally anything a church could possibly need to track regarding it's attenders.

Chris K.
loves Breeze
Crossroads United Methodist Church

Breeze has been a great asset to our church and congregation. Especially from an administrative standpoint, it has been the most adaptable and easiest church database I have ever used. The features from blast emails to giving on-line, and texting have been one of our greatest assets. Thank you!

Ed R.
loves Breeze
Church Admin

We switched from a major, web-based ChMS to Breeze and our decision is confirmed every day. We are a medium size church and we use Breeze for contributions, member management, event checkin and a few other applications custom to our church. I had trouble getting any staff to use our previous ChMS but almost all staff are using Breeze. The product is very well designed, extremely easy to learn and use and customer service is incredible.

Ellen G.
loves Breeze
Grace Church

Breeze has opened the communication highway for our congregation and staff, with very little training. Because members can update their own records and search easily for other members - and map their locations, send emails and text right from Breeze, they love it and our data is more real-time accurate. Our ministries are stronger, because they can trust the data in Breeze, which is easily accessed anywhere, anytime.

Steve H.
loves Breeze
First Presbyterian Church of Ramsey

Breeze is the first ChMS my volunteers have actually embraced. That's because it's so easy to use. The software is very flexible and gives us the opportunity to make decisions based on actual data we've collected and not just hunches or stories we believe to be true.

Allicia B.
loves Breeze
Ellel Ministries Canada

I cannot say enough about Breeze. Their customer service is so friendly, you feel like you have friends and family helping you get started, they're prompt to reply and will do whatever they can to help you get things sorted out. It's been so easy to learn, our staff is loving it and best of all even our staff who are not computer savvy find it a breeze (pun intended). We are just thrilled by our choice.

Kevin D.
loves Breeze
Central Baptist Church

From the start of our process looking for an online solution, Breeze has exceeded all our expectations. Fast data import, fast and friendly customer support, and we can’t say enough about how much we like the program itself. Very well designed and user friendly. On a scale of 1-10, Breeze gets a 15 from us!

Rated 4.9 stars – 480+ reviews on Capterra