Developing an Outreach Program
When developing an outreach program, churches should follow a comprehensive process that will not only ensure that there is a need for the program but that the church has the human and capital resources to effectively and efficiently carry out the program. The following process can be used to develop an outreach program at your church.
Assess the needs of your members and surrounding community.
- Survey your congregation on the types of community outreach programs that they would like to conduct.
- Survey the community about the types of programs that they need.
- Educational, Health, Financial Literacy, etc.
- Match the congregation’s needs and interests with the community’s needs.
- For example: Did the majority of the congregation want to start a financial literacy program? Did your community survey indicate that many people are unaware of financial management practices?
Develop the Goals and Objectives
- What would you like to accomplish through your outreach program?
Organize the Program Plans
- Describe step by step how the program will work.
- How will you market the program?
- Where will the program be held?
- How often will the program be provided?
- What are the times of operation?
- What materials will you need for the program?
- How much will everything cost?
- How many volunteers will you need per week?
- Who will be responsible for facilitating the program?
Implement the Program
- Implement the steps outlined during the program planning process.
- Call the Congregation to Action!
- Get the congregation involved by advertising the program during announcements and on the church’s bulletin board.
- Provide sign-up sheets for volunteers
- Alert the local media.
- Provide a press release to the local newspaper, radio station, and online sources to create awareness of your program (and church).
- Provide “top-notch” service.
- Remember that the program participants are also possible church members. Build a strong positive relationship with each person that you encounter.
- Keep the congregation excited about the program by recognizing exemplary volunteers and achievements.
- Provide updates about the program during the announcements portion of your worship service.
- Put pictures of program volunteers at work on the church’s bulletin board.
- Reward dedicated volunteers with a special recognition ceremony.
Evaluate the Program
- Survey the congregation and community.
- Is the congregation satisfied with the program?
- Are the program participants satisfied with the program?
- Did the program achieve its goals and objectives?
- Has the program met the needs of the community?
- Revise the program depending on the results of your surveys and program data.
- If you went over the projected budget, increase the budget or downsize your program.
- Did the hours of operation conflict with church member’s schedules?
- Were the program materials ineffective?
Following this process will assist your church with developing an outreach program that is truly a help-mate to the community. It will respond to the community’s needs while also serving as a growth agent for the church. Furthermore, an excellently implemented program is much more attractive to a funding agency than one with little planning at all.