Several times over the last few weeks, I have been in discussions with people who ask about advertising and about reaching new people. Let me share with you some best practices and some reminders of what we know to be true.

First, people often decide within the first 10 minutes whether or not to return to a church they visit. A warm welcome as they arrive, clear signage, and a clean facility are all things that help determine whether or not someone returns. We pay attention to our facility and signage, but we need you to help give a warm welcome! Sadly, one couple I talked with recently said they had been to our church four times and that was the first week anyone had spoken to them. That’s a failure on our part! Whether you are ushering and passing out bulletins or you are simply arriving for worship, you should first look to see if there’s someone you don’t know. Offer your name and a warm welcome.

When I introduce myself, I like to admit that they might not be a first time visitor by saying something like, “I’m sure we have met but I don’t remember your name.” Or, “After the pandemic I’m having problems recognizing faces without masks!” Or, “In a church this size it’s easy to not meet everyone.” If you are on the receiving end of someone’s warm greeting but have attended for decades, don’t be offended! Maybe the person welcoming you is more new to the church and is still meeting people. Before you welcome and chat with your friends, look around and see who you need to offer a welcome to.

Second, look around to see who is missing. Post-COVID, we have many people who continue to worship online. Others have stopped coming to Tucson for the winter. Some have just fallen out of the habit. Look around and see who is missing and send them a note, a text, or a call. The goal is not to guilt them into coming. However, it’s nice to be missed. A simple, “I missed you in worship today” leaves it open to the reality that they might have attended the other service or are attending online. But someone who is missed feels like they are a part of the community.

Finally, you can give us free advertising. I am not on Instagram or TikTok, but I am on Facebook. On Facebook, when you “like” something, it increases the chances that others who don’t follow the church will see it. When you mark that you are “Interested” in an event, Facebook suggests it to other people who live near you or like similar things you do.

The church has more than 1,000 followers on Facebook. If HALF of you who follow the church on Facebook “liked” every single post, then Facebook would think it was a great post and would bump it up for others to see. If 500 people were interested in an event we were hosting, Facebook would think it’s a great event and would offer it to other people in Oro Valley. Believe it or not, I sat down a few weeks ago with Facebook and looked at events coming up to see what our family might do that Saturday. The ones with more interest were suggested first.

The beauty of it? It’s free. It costs you and the church nothing, and we’ve done all the work for you! That concert Sunday night? Mark “interested,” even if you aren’t attending so that others will see it. The concert the next week? Same thing. Ash Wednesday service? Mark interested, even if you come for ashes in the morning. The Children’s Easter Event? Mark interested even though your grandkids don’t live here.

Want to take it a step further? Share it on your page. Hit the share button, and your friends and maybe their friends will see it. The more shares, the more Facebook thinks it’s important. And, the more people will see it.

Social media isn’t the only place we are advertising. We are members of the Chambers of Commerce for Oro Valley and Marana, we are in “The Christian Resource Guide,” and more. We will do some direct mail advertising before Easter. We are always searching for creative ways to get our name out there.

But you can do your part! Offer a warm welcome on Sunday. Reach out to those you don’t see. Share and “like” our posts and events. Pray for our mission field and for those who are seeking a Savior who offers hope and grace to all.

See you Sunday.
Pastor Lynn



  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.