|A Featured Class|
By Dan Vis
February 01, 2019
Another year has rolled around and we are offering our Made in Heaven class on marriage once again. So it seemed a good idea to update this for 2019. We even threw in a quick bonus tip at the end! You can use this strategy to promote any class, but given Valentine's Day is right around the corner, why not take advantage of it...
Want to get more members plugged into your Training Center? Why not try promoting a featured class? A good campaign is easy to run, and can make a big difference in someone's life.
Plus, we have a great FREE class on marriage scheduled for February, called "Made in Heaven" designed to help the couples in your church enjoy richer and more rewarding marriages. Who wouldn't want that?
You can use the steps below with any of our challenges, but we'll use our current class as an example for this tutorial.
Plan of Action
As a pastor of a fast growing church for seven years, I learned lots of valuable lessons. When it came to promoting events, I quickly discovered effective promotions needed careful planning. And that a good plan required multiple approaches, plus a sustained focus over several weeks. Anything less, and the congregation was generally too distracted to respond.
We quickly got into a rhythm of loosely planning our calendar 1-2 years in advance, assigning each month a theme, and focusing on just one related campaign. By scheduling the whole year in advance, we could make sure we covered all the major areas in a balanced fashion. By giving each campaign a full month, we got better response. Every department could look for ways to plugin to our focus for the month. And sermons during the month were usually connected to the theme as well. It worked well for us.
To run a successful "Made in Heaven" promotion, I suggest something similar. Set aside a whole month to focus on marriage, and then pull out all the stops in your campaign. Listed below are 10 suggestions you can try to help make your "marriage" month a success:
#1. Give it a Full Month
Dedicate an entire month to the campaign and get it approved by your pastor, and/or church board. We scheduled our marriage program to run in February this year, to coincide with Valentine's Day. That makes it easy to tap into the publicity connected with that. And as usual, we'll be promoting it through all our channels at FAST. But you can run any class, any month, if you are a training center. All our regular classes are free to the members of your church.
#2. Build Anticipation
In the weeks leading up to February, build interest by letting people know you have a special focus on marriage planned for the coming month. These can be brief announcements in the bulletin or from the pulpit. Tease with small hints about what to expect. Show enthusiasm and cultivate anticipation.
#3. Kick it off BIG
Start the month strong. We always tried to open the month with a special sermon on our theme, a big fellowship meal, and then an afternoon workshop or seminar. Encourage every platform participant to refer to the theme in some way--whether they are doing the offering, congregational prayer, special music, or some other role. Alignment is powerful. Use the sermon to strongly promote the featured class.
#4. Involve Every Department
Throughout the month, encourage every department to find ways to plug in. If your theme is marriage, your health team might prepare a handout about the health benefits of married life. Your family life department might do a special nugget each week offering marriage tips. Your social committee might plan some way to acknowledge couples with anniversaries that month, or who have been married a certain number of years. Be creative and use as many approaches as possible. People respond to different things.
#5. Bulletins + Announcements
Grab the bulletin inserts for the "Made in Heaven" class, and print them in your church bulletin each week through the month of March. Then during the announcement period, call attention to these inserts and encourage every member to sign up. Explain that you are doing a special marriage campaign and that your goal is to see every couple in the church participate. It's also important to encourage them to join the training center for your church, so you can track their response (and so they can access more resources). You can find Bulletin Inserts for all our classes in the Sharing Resources section of your training center portal.
#6. Use Email, Plus
Create an email list of the members in your training center, and send them a personal invitation to join the "Made in Heaven" class, with a link to the sign up page. Or if they have not joined the training center yet, use the "INVITE" link in the "Members" section of your training center. If your church prefers texting, use your messaging app to get the word out. Social media is another option. Share a few of our FAST facebook posts about the class on your church facebook page, and encourage members to share them on their pages too. The more ways you connect with people, the better!
#7. Personal Invitations
Don't neglect personal invitations. Use opportunities before and after the worship service to informally catch up with friends and ask if they have signed up yet. If not, encourage them to do so. If possible, get the elders and/or other church leaders to commit to this personal work as well. Personal invitations are one of the most powerful tool in your promotional toolbox. Use it well. And working together as a team like this, has the added advantage of fostering unity in the church.
#8. Respond to Activity
Use the new Activity tab in your training center portal to track who signs up. Use the FAST messaging system to send a quick message to each person who enrolls, congratulating them on joining the class. (Click their name to send a note). Keep a tally and give an update to the church each week. Set a goal to reach some number and encourage everyone to help reach the goal. Remind them there is a cut-off date for the promotion and encourage them to sign up before the end of the month. Numbers like this can build momentum.
#9. Use Testimonies
This particular class takes just 7 days. Notice when different members sign up, and check back 8 or 10 days later asking how they liked it. If someone has a positive testimony, invite them to share it briefly during the announcement period at your next worship service. If they are not comfortable up front, an interview method often works. Testimonies are powerful! Use them if you can.
#10. End With Something Big
During the last worship service of the month, prepare a small gift for everyone who supported the campaign by signing up for the class. For a marriage class, it might be a rose or something similar. Thank them for being a strong promoter of happy marriages. You may also wish to make a special appeal at the end of the last week's sermon, and close with a prayer of dedication for all the marriages in your church. Sustain the focus on your theme from beginning to end.
There you have it: Ten keys to running a successful promotion. Plan each campaign well, and you will see a growing number of members plug in to your training center portal, and begin growing in their spiritual life.
Repeat as needed! :)
Want a bonus tip? If you are running something like our Made in Heaven class in February, you'll definitely want to tap into Valentine's Day. Why not create an attractive "gift certificate" for a free class on how to have a richer and more rewarding marriage. Then slip one into the bulletin the weekend before.
Combine that with a good stirring message on the importance of happy homes and you may just have some good sign up rates! Let's use every little advantage we can to help people climb higher in their walk with God!
What do you think? Do the suggestions make sense? Are they doable? Have additional ideas for how you could promote a class? Questions about how to implement something? Share a comment below...
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/12/19|
|You are welcome to take the class Patricia! :) You'll find these principles apply to any relationship actually...|
|Posted by Patricia K. Rogers on 02/05/19|
|Do you need this if you are not married yet but want to marry?|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/01/18|
If you are able to get half the members of your church plugged into your training center, you are doing pretty good John! Running a promotion like this is just another way to get more members connected, and hopefully to start exploring some of our other tools and resources.
Of course, the original purpose, and our primary purpose still, of these training centers is to encourage each church to run a small group through our main discipleship track once each year. That class can be completely done offline as explained in the certification manual (found in the Teacher Tools section).
I did have one person request a way to take our short courses (like our Mad About Marriage class) and so I package it up as a series of printable handouts for use in prayer meeting, and we may move that direction at some point. But my recommendation at present is still to use the study guides for live small group training and encourage people to do the short classes in our online environment.
But as you know, John, we're always experimenting with new things at FAST. So we're open to anything that will help our partner churches raise up more workers more quickly...
|Posted by John Gilmore on 02/17/18|
|Perhaps I've missed something, but I'm wondering about working with those members who are not internet connected (about half of our local church members). How can we best offer this class (or others) to them?|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/15/18|
|Glad this was helpful! I'm hoping some churches will join us for our March focus on marriage. If not now, you can always use these suggestions for a different class and at a different time!|
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