Running Ads to Reach the Unchurched

Katie Allred

There’s no need for effective church marketing to be intensely manipulative or peddling. Ads are a powerful tool that can help your ministry thrive if you’re looking for new ways to attract members to your church, especially for the non-churchgoers. You have to allow these things to communicate with the unchurched effectively: sufficient knowledge of the word of God, a great connection and understanding with unchurched people, and a willingness to take the step to reach out to those who are seeking faith.

So the question is, how do you position your ads to connect to the people that you are targeting to reach? Think about why these people aren’t going to church and what their needs and desires are. Now think how your ads can relate and attract them. Here are some recommendations from our members on our Church Communications FB group on how to position your ads to your targeted group.


“…Think about why someone may think about attending your church. It is to belong, have a purpose usually mission focused, a crisis that is connecting is comforting. Do a test run of your church’s welcome like a guest shopper. A short video testimonies from current memories who decided to try than stayed.” Patti Hackett-Hunter MEd

“We’ve done it at a church in Carlingford, NSW, Sydney. Some advice to maximize reach to non-church goers: using the same creative/video, create both a boosted post via your page plus an ad via An ad is slightly different to a boosted post. See In your boosted post, target those just in your local area (there’s an option to do that in the boost settings). In your ad, target those in your local area, plus you can also choose to target people who don’t currently like your fb page, and therefore most of your ad spend will go to showing your ad to people not currently in your church. You make this selection by going Connections > Exclude People Who Like Your Page. Put the same amount of money behind the boosted post and the ad to see which performs better for your church. Hope this helps! Any questions let me know.” Phillip Witheridge

If you want to reach unchurched people, I would STRONGLY recommend doing a recurring campaign using ‘ads’ and ‘funnels’ (as opposed to one that’s a one-off event- gives the ads longer to optimize and more time to refine your ads & funnel). Create something of value that unchurched people want and advertise this as a FREE download- an ad click should take them to an opt-in page where they enter their email to get the FREE item sent to their email (you now have a new ‘lead’ aka potential ‘new person’).  Follow this email signup with an ‘email automation’ (aka ‘email sequence’ or ‘drip campaign’) that they get over the next 7-14 days where you give away as much value as possible to build trust with them. When they submit the form, take them to the next page which touches on the need they have and how your church can help them in this area (and offer a next step for them- attend Sunday service, sign up for one of your groups/ courses, etc.) Hope this helps!” Max Lyons


Think outside your usual perspective when reaching the unchurched. Speak their language to better communicate and relate to them. Effective church marketing through ads is a powerful tool to help increase your chances of reaching out to non-churchgoers. It lets them know that your church is a place to belong, and is open for whatever questions they may have regarding faith, life, and God. With help from other church staff, a well-thought-out strategy, and the willingness to reach out to them, you could reach out to more people and share the Word of God.


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