One of the most challenging tasks of ministers of all religions is finding topics that are captivating enough to boost attendance. Indeed, given that we are in the age of spirituality, online churches, and many people who seem to believe that they have no use for the church, at times, finding topics that attract larger crowds can feel next to impossible. Moreover, if you are a newer and/or smaller church, it can be difficult to attract new members in general. Therefore, in order to attract new members, many churches have to get innovative by doing things such as discussing topics that are less common, or even taboo, in order to attract more members. That said, the following is a list of 6 Bible study topics that will help your church attract a wider audience and boost attendance.
Prosperity Teachings: Preaching on How to Be Successful
Although many churches used to teach that money is the root of all evil, as a culture, we seem to be moving away from this dated notion. Rather, we are now in an age in which people realize that it takes money to make changes in society and that one of the best ways to contribute to society is by amassing wealth and using portions of this money in order to support certain movements, people, and agendas. Furthermore, another age-old belief of the church is that when you do good, good comes back to you. So, rather than believing that we must be poor to enter into the gates of heaven, people now believe that becoming rich or wealthy in order to help the world, just may be their ticket to a heavenly afterlife. Therefore, a solid prosperity sermon can be all you need to attract new members by the droves.
In particular, pastors and preachers should focus on using biblical teachings that favor prosperity in order to show followers the righteous way to get rich. For instance, using the following Bible verse, “I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24), you can give your following an actionable method of becoming more prosperous. However, rather than making it sound like some magical remedy, a responsible speaker must remind them that this teaching is only a part of the overall equation. And that while having faith and staying prayerful is important, they must also take steps towards becoming more prosperous in real life. For instance, learning and investing in stocks, starting a business, and/or learning about CD's and other financial products are all ways to boost your income in both the short and long-term.
Another example of a Bible verse that can be used to promote a prosperous following is as follows, “Don't be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7). In other words, if you take the time to invest in yourself, your businesses, your dreams, and your overall success, you will eventually reap the benefits. Although the idea of reaping what we sow is a well-known biblical concept, it is also one that has continuously been proven to be true in our everyday lives. Therefore, rather than preaching that your congregation should simply wait for God to bless them with reaches, this is a way to motivate your following to do the work in order to reap the fruits of their labor.
Redemption: Making a Good Comeback
Yet another great topic for church sermons is that of redemption through the church. We have all fallen short, and getting back up can often be the hardest part. Nevertheless, as humans, most of us are resilient and often just need a push in the right direction. Reminding your congregation that making mistakes or being down on your luck are not cardinal sins and that rather, sometimes these things happen in order to help us re-establish our relationships with God, is a great way to draw in crowds of people who are struggling in life. Furthermore, using examples from the Bible and or self-disclosure is a great way to drive these points home.
On the one hand, there is the story of Jesus, which is filled with both dark days and redemption, which is known for helping to inspire people to keep going. On another hand, if the pastor, priest, or preacher is bold enough to discuss specifics with regards to either their own lives or close loved ones, this is the ultimate way to connect with the audience, earn their respect, and inspire them to encourage others who may be struggling to visit the church. Lastly, another great way to reinforce this is by sharing resources and other services that help people get back on their feet (i.e. shelter, food programs, etc.). This will assert your church as an ally to those living in the community. Over time, you will have those a mixture of people attending your church for your resources, to hear your motivational message, and out of respect and admiration for how you may have helped them change their lives for the better.
The Good, Bad, and Ugly of the Internet and Social Media
Another hot-button topic is the internet and social media. However, many of these sermons are one-sided, and thus, can be off-putting to the younger generations. In particular, given that experts assert that young kids and teens spend up to 9 hours a day surfing the web, doing a sermon that totally condemns the use of social media will alienate those who have never lived in a world in which the internet was such a part of our everyday lives. However, being a responsible leader of the community, you cannot simply ignore the dangers of allowing our children to spend countless hours online. As Ephesians 5:11 tells us, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness but instead expose them”. This means it will do us no good to simply ignore the evils of the internet, instead, we should use it to our advantage and as a way to expose the pitfalls than many are falling victim to. Therefore, the sermon can be broken down into the following categories:
- The Dangers of Social Media– The internet can be a very dangerous place for us all and especially the young and impressionable. For instance, this gives child predators access to children in unprecedented ways. These days, they can befriend them long before they make any requests from them, which is an online form of grooming. Moreover, they can also play games with them, invite them to group events, and other things that give children false trust in these predators. On another hand, cyber-bullying is also rampant as up to 90% of teens have witnessed or dealt with this type of bullying in some form. Cyber-bullying is a way to undermine children's happiness, well-being, sense of safety, and self-esteem. Furthermore, there is also inappropriate pornographic material on an array of sites, which could cause confusion or inappropriate behaviors in some kids. Additionally, there are financial scams they can get caught up in, damaging programs they can be tricked into downloading, and the propensity for them to do or say damaging things that can go viral and haunt them for the rest of their lives.
- How to Use Social Media Responsibly– On the other hand, if you are going to delve into the dark side of the internet, you can also discuss the ways in which the internet and social media can be beneficial. For instance, crowdfunding sites are a great way to bring attention to worthy causes and generate revenue for people and things that need financial support. Another great use of the internet is to create and sign petitions that deal with social and political problems that are affecting us all. Additionally, there are positive groups on social media that not only provide an outlet for people to release toxic energy, but that also allows them to post and consume positive thoughts, pictures, articles, etc. Also, as a church, you should also have a website and social media pages. This will give you an opportunity to use that as a haven for the children (and adults) in your congregation and encourage them to use their social media pages to spread good, rather than feeding into all of the negative things on the internet.
Either way, the point is to point out that while there is plenty of evil on the internet, as members of the church, they can and should be using their powers to spread love and joy.
On Being Grateful
In addition to motivating your congregation to achieve more, another popular sermon involves reminding them of the fact that there is always something to be grateful for. Moreover, in addition to reminding them to be grateful, you will also want to remind them that this is the foundation for receiving more blessings. For instance, the following Bible verses speak on how being grateful can invite God's grace.
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6). In other words, there is never a need to be anxious or worried about our circumstances. We simply need to be thankful for what we have, be prayerful, and walk in faith that our prayers are already being answered.
- Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. (Hebrews 12:28). This is an especially inspiring verse for church-goers as it reminds them that we often place too much emphasis on the here and now, rather than focusing on doing the right things so we can have a peaceful after-life. No matter what they are going through at the time, they will be reminded to continue to walk the right path as we all experience trials and tribulations, and it is during those times when we need to rely on our faith, above all.
- This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. (Corinthians 9:11). In other words, by doing good and being appreciative in the here and now, you are serving as an extension of God's grace and mercy.
In other words, being grateful for what we have invites more great things, not only in this life but in the afterlife as well.
On Maintaining the Sanctity of Marriage
Furthermore, another interesting topic is the sanctity of marriage. Given that young people are started to get married later in life and some are opting out of marriage altogether, this is a message that many churchgoers from the younger and older generations can benefit from. On the one hand, despite the fact that social media culture seems to all but shun committed relationships (and certainly undermines them at every turn), there are many younger people who still value committed relationships and are getting married or hope to get married someday. However, if they are paying attention to the media, they are likely being discouraged by constantly watching marriages dissolve before their very eyes. However, by instilling a faith in God as the foundation of their relationships, they can build stronger relationships that stand the test of time.
On the other hand, members of older generations have likely seen an array of long-term marriages dissolve, and may have even had a few failed marriages themselves. Therefore, they may have grown cynical about marriage and love. However, by putting their faith in God and accepting that everything happens for a reason, they can grow to realize that they can be happily married again (or for the first time ever), no matter what age they are or what they've experienced in the past.
On Finding Your Purpose
It's no secret, many people turn to the church when they are feeling lost and without purpose. Therefore, speaking about finding one's purpose can be a great method of attracting new members. Moreover, oftentimes this is after the person has suffered some traumatic loss and feels like they will never find peace again. However, by speaking on the fact that God has a purpose for everyone's life is a very empowering message that many people seem to take to. For instance, Colossians 1:16 tells us “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him”. This is a very empowering message for those who lack purpose and are struggling to find peace in that it allows them to move forward knowing that they are meant to be here and that God has a hand in where we end up and who we become.
Overall, there are plenty of topics that can be explored with the help the of the Bible. Rather than shying away from more taboo topics, churches must use the present state of thing to their advantage. The ultimate goal is to show people that they do not have to be perfect. However, as long as they keep striving, they will be perfect in the eyes of God.