It’s finally here!
Back-to-school means back to Bible Study in our neck of the woods. Yesterday, we started two new studies and oh, it was good to be together!
While many groups continue their studies through the summer, we’ve found a summer break works best for our church and the ladies we serve. It makes getting back to Bible study all the more sweet!
However, can I be honest? It’s hard to get back into the swing of things after the lazy, dazy days of summer. September comes way too quick for me.
Perhaps that’s why, when given a chance to create my own DVD Bible studies, I tried to include everything you as a study leader might possibly need. I wanted to do the heavy lifting, so that you’re freed up to do what you do best – love the women God has given you.
So without further delay (and with promo resources from Having a Mary Heart in a Martha Word: DVD Study scattered throughout!), here are “Ten Ways to Promote Your Bible Study” – and a lot more!
Spreading the News
1. Church Announcements
This may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to use every avenue your church offers to publicize your study. From bulletin announcements to presentation slides to a blurb or banner on the church website (like the one below). Ask if you can be included, then at least three weeks before, provide necessary details in a concise manner.
Be sure to include the important details: “What, Where, When and How Much.”
If childcare is provided, include that information as well.
2. Posters & Flyers
When putting up posters and flyers, especially inside the church, I like to use a solid color background to set off the posters (especially in the high-traffic areas women travel in our church.) Like the foyer, coffee bar, nursery and children’s wing as well as the women’s restrooms. Make the most of a captive audience by securing small flyers to the inside of each bathroom stall. (Roll tape for the back of posters and flyers so they are tacked down securely on all four corners.)
On the glass doors at each entrance, I make a double-sided poster using two posters with a larger piece of colored paper sandwiched between. Then I fasten it to the glass with double-stick tape (fabulous stuff – works on walls too!)
3. Promo Video
A short taste of the video study can be a deciding factor in women’s attendance. Check to see if it’s possible to show a short promo video (like this one) during Sunday service, preferably two weeks before study starts. Post the video to your church website and Facebook page. Consider setting up a flatscreen TV in the foyer to show a loop of the video. (Go to Animoto.com and scroll down for directions on looping video via QuickTime – easy peasy!)
4. Sign-Up Forms
Begin inviting women to sign-up for the study several weeks ahead so you have an idea how many books to order. Make sure the sign-up sheet has the study details clearly outlined at the top. Two weeks before study, I like to pass clipboards through the congregation (though most of the time, the forms are kept at a back table with a sample of the book.)
5. Invite Cards
Never underestimate the power of a personal invitation. Vistaprint prints high-quality full-color postcards for a great price. Send postcards to your ladies three weeks before the study. But have extra cards printed to give out during church. Arlene Greene likes to hand them out to young moms as they pick their children after kid’s church. Consider having extra cards made so women can take a few to pass out to their circle of influence. [Here’s a sample of the Having a Mary Heart postcard.]
6. Press Release
Three to four weeks before your study, send out a press release like this one to local newspapers, radio and TV stations. Many media outlets provide free public service announcements and are willing to print your announcement if you get it to them in a timely manner. Call or check online to see submission and format requirements.
7. Email Invite
If you haven’t already started a database of email addresses for your women’s ministry, please start soon! Email is a powerful way to connect with women – not only for publicity, but as a way to connect and minister through encouraging and equipping newsletters.
Many larger churches have church management software able to send emails to a targeted group, but as a medium-size church leader I love the creative power of MailChimp email service. It’s FREE for up to 2000 email addresses (see this great tutorial from Kirsten Thompson).
If your church doesn’t have a Facebook page or group (and even if they do!), consider starting a group for your women’s ministry. Facebook is arguably the best and quickest way to connect with your ladies. Publicize events, advise schedule changes or communicate last-minute weather cancellations, Facebook can do so many things. Cross post with your church’s public page for more reach. Check to see if there are any local Facebook pages that accept public service announcements.
Here’s a great post by Cyndee Ownbey of Women’s Ministry Toolbox about the value of setting up a Facebook group rather than a page. We’ve made our group private and only by invite. That way we aren’t worried about our prayer requests being broadcast to the world or spammy posts filling our comment threads.
No matter what type of publicity you use, nothing spreads study news faster than the genuine excitement of those who attend! Getting your details out early (at least three weeks in advance) allows the grapevine to carry the news to people you might never reach otherwise. Cultivate study ambassadors out of women who are natural “connectors” and make them part of your hospitality team. Pass on names of women who might benefit from a personal phone call and invite.
Consider doubling the impact of your study by linking arms with other churches. “I live in Vermont, so our churches are pretty small,” says pastor’s wife and study leader, Donna Lee. “Anytime we can join our like minded congregations in a Bible study, and share the workload of preparing lessons, it’s a win-win!”
Above all, ask the Holy Spirit to draw the women He has in mind for your studies. After all, He knows what study is right for them. But ask Him to do a new thing in you as well. Jacki Bornaman says “nothing ignites my passion to spread the word about a study more than the time I spend in prayer. When I turn my agenda over to God, He shows me the how, when and where. No matter how small or big the study is, I believe that God counts it as His!”
Some Super Cool Tools
There are so many wonderful apps and tools out there, it would take weeks to gather them all. But here are a few I’ve used or want to use in my study promotion:
Textiful – an easy way for people to subscribe to your email list. Just text a word of your choice and they are given prompts to subscribe. Free.
Text 2 Group – this popular, FREE app at iTunes Store allows you to text groups of people, but their replies come back to you, not to entire group. Upgrade to pro for more features ($2.99)
Adobe Spark – I’m kind of in love with this app right now! Create cool graphics, pages and short videos to promote your study or event. Here’s a video I made in less than 40 minutes.
I’d love to hear from you…In your experience, what’s the most effective way to promote a Bible study? (Any cool apps or publicity tools to share?)