Why churches should invite less

Gone are the days when people would pay first, then receive. In social media in particular, people will invest time, money, emotions, energy, whatever, only after they’ve received. Which is why we can’t treat social media like an events flyer.

If all we do is invite people to our events, they’ll just begin to ignore us and hide our requests, and maybe even block us all together.

Social media is all about giving. You have to give before you can expect to receive from people in the social media world. And the reason is simple: it’s about building trust. It’s about investing in the lives of the people around you. It’s about showing that you genuinely care for them. It’s about showing that you are not motivated solely by self-interest. It’s about relationship.

This is what marketers refer to as the “80/20 rule” (at least one of the 80/20 rules. There are actually a few different 80/20 rules in the marketing world.).

Give 80% of the time and ask 20% of the time. It looks like this:

  1. Give them inspiration
  2. Give them humour
  3. Make their day
  4. Tell them you’re praying for them
  5. Create an “e-book” and give it away
  6. Hold a free hot dog barbecue with no strings attached
  7. Share, comment and engage on the stuff they create and are interested in
  8. Find out what their situation is, and spontaneously fill a need


  1. Invite them to your church’s Christmas production
  2. Invite them to a Sunday morning service

While you invest so heavily in people’s lives and express a genuine interest in them you will simultaneously activate that human “reciprocity trigger.”

The reciprocity trigger is a trigger inside of all of us that wants to repay kindness for kindness; interest for interest; giving for giving; sharing for sharing; loving for loving and so on.

Unfortunately many churches on social media take the opposite approach. They have a Facebook Page that is all about them. Every post is either what’s going on in their church or an invite to their event.

This might work for the church’s biggest fans. But it won’t work for connecting with new people. Especially the unchurched. They will see right through you and know that you’re really only interested in yourself. Even if that’s not true, perception is reality and that’s the message you’ll be sending out.

On social media, take a different approach: give, give, give. And on occasion, invite.

Then you’ll see results. Trust me!

Question: What resources do you use to find content to share on social media? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Thanks for helping to keep the conversation focused and for being courteous.

  • Vicki Twiford

    Great word Derek – very scriptural! And I know there are ministers the same age as my husband and I who are hesitant to embrace ministry through Social Media. I am 63 years old, and even though I am very familiar with “the way we’ve always done it”, my heart is to reach people, not just do it my way. So I plan to follow your sight and keep up-to-date with how we can communicate with this generation. Next week we are meeting with someone who was an IT for 9 years to help us with our WP site (GNT theme). Would love your input when it’s live.

    • Derek

      Hi Vicki, I understand the apprehension and admire your courage for embrace social media and using it to reach lives. I’d be happy to help. Just fire your questions my way any time.

    • Would love to!

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