With this invitation, Embrace Church of Sioux Falls, SD invited Palm Sunday worshippers in 2012 to take time before and after worship to pose for a family photo with a donkey. Bud the Donkey was brought in as a fun factor on that Sunday, as children learned the story of Palm Sunday. The idea of a photo shoot with the donkey just emerged along the way. The photos were posted to the church’s Facebook site, and people were invited to go onto the Facebook site and tag the faces with their names.
It turned into one of the best outreach concepts of all time.
People went on Facebook, by the hundreds, to find their pictures and tag the faces.Embrace was about three years old last year and about 750 people were in attendance on Palm Sunday. As folks tagged their photos, instantly all of their friends and family were notified that they were attending a church called Embrace; a church that brings donkeys on Palm Sunday. People’s friends began inquiring,”What church is that?” “I didn’t know you went to church.” “Do you like it?” “We’ve been thinking we need to start church.” And so forth.
The next Sunday, attendance doubled- after all, it WAS Easter. But the photographer kept taking pictures of people every Sunday. On Sunday evenings, the people kept looking for their pictures on Facebook and kept tagging. And friends kept getting notices and asking questions. Thousands of folks came to the Embrace Facebook site looking at last year’s pictures. And this Palm Sunday, one year later, the church has gone from two services to four. Attendance this Palm Sunday doubled since last year. More than 1,500 people attended worship. That is a 100% growth rate. And there was no donkey and no special emphasis this year, just regular Sunday fare.
Pastor Adam Weber thanks God for giving such an amazing increase. But he also credits Facebook. And Bud the Donkey. People in Sioux Falls are talking about Embrace.
Is your church using Facebook and other electronic media to its advantage?