When Your Target Audience & Identity Don’t Line Up

You’re sitting in your church and you notice something. The people in the pews are not the same people that are on your target audience list. Your desire may be to reach teens but there’s none to be found. Perhaps your passion is for teaching young children, but your youngest member is in their 30s. How do you balance the call the Lord has put on your church with your current audience?

It Starts Within

Look around your congregation again. Who do you see? The first step to reaching the audience you desire (and ultimately feel the Lord is leading you towards) is to determine your competitive advantages.

Think of your church as a business. What quantifiable strengths does your church have? What intangible strengths do you posses? For example: if you are a congregation with a majority over the age of 40 looking to serve the teens in your area, what do you do? What do you have to offer this demographic? Some advantages may be wisdom and mentor-ship opportunities.

What about a middle aged church looking for young families? Do you offer opportunities for young parents to interact and bring their children?

Start by first examining your strengths and being creative. What can you, today, offer your target demographic?

Build It and They Will Come

The Field of Dreams mentality just doesn’t work when it comes to the church. All too often I’ve seen churches who believe that if they build a large gym, have a big party, or have a bigger building that the floodgates will open and the people will flock in. I’m not doubting the Lord’s ability to fill your pews, but we aren’t off the hook!

A large gym or a big flashy sign means very little in today’s world- especially if your target audience is young people. In fact, many of today’s young adults will not try out a church where they don’t know anyone- regardless of how big the building.

Before you start breaking ground on what you think your target audience desires, bring in your target audience. You may just find that what you think is important to them really isn’t at all.

It Continues Outward

In today’s world reaching the younger demographics is hard. It isn’t an overnight transaction. It takes relationships and trust. If you have defined your target audience as youth or young adults, then be prepared to get your hands dirty.

Stepping outside your four walls in going to be essential for bringing in any new demographic. You have to go where your people are. Don’t expect them to flock to you. If they did, they wouldn’t be your target demographic. They’d be in your pews.

If your desire is to reach teens is crisis volunteer at local pregnancy and crisis centers. Be prepared to give your time, and not just “for a time”…but as a part of your everyday life.

Your Target List

Remember that your target audience isn’t a check mark on your list. They are a life investment. Treat this endeavor as if you are building forever relationships. Because ultimately you will be. Before you define your target audience list I urge you to go to the Lord in prayer. Petition for his will to be revealed to you. Ask for not only his guidance, but perseverance. You’re not only seeking a target demographic, you’re seeking a mission field.

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