Four Ways Your Church Can Determine Its "Reach Area"
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Four Ways Your Church Can Determine Its "Reach Area"

Why knowing your area is critical to every church

June 21, 2024
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The following article addresses the importance of every congregation knowing more about its location and community. BGAV offers participating churches several tools yielding valuable information regarding demographics, resourcing them for more effective outreach. Learn more about BGAV's Demographics and Research Studies.

When establishing, understanding or growing a local church, discovering your reach area — the geographic scope based on where your current members live — is crucial.

This reach area defines where your church can potentially impact and serve, guiding outreach efforts, ministry planning and growth strategies. Your church brand needs to be needed in this area.

A reach area idea works because of the foundational marketing principle that “birds of a feather” do live together. In this article is a simple guide on determining your church’s reach area using member addresses from your church management database.

But first, here is why it’s vital for your church’s present and future.

Strategic planning for your church brand: Enables focused ministries, sermon topics and outreach ideas aligned with local community needs. Your church needs to be perceived as a solution to their needs or concerns or a path to their goals.

Growth opportunities: Identifies areas ripe for potential campuses based on current congregation distribution and growth areas near them.

Resource efficiency: Guides budget allocation for effective community impact and targeted advertising.

Defining, mapping your reach area

Here are some ways to define and map your reach area:

1. Compile member addresses: Gather member addresses from your database. Perhaps you need to establish this database. Do it now! It’ll come in handy for many communication projects too.

2. Plot member locations: Use mapping tools (e.g. Google Maps) to visually plot member addresses and identify clusters. Eliminate outliers who travel farther to your church than the average would.

3. Establish geographic boundaries: Analyze the mapped dots to determine a custom polygon shape that represents the main core of where members reside. This is your reach area, your true community.

4. Seek demographics: Define who lives in your reach area. Since it comes from your congregation, you should be able to see your members in this reach area data. Discover socio-economic status, cultural diversity and community-perceived needs and goals to inform your outreach and ministry programs.

Ultimately, defining your church’s reach area empowers and emboldens your ministries.

It’s a crucial step toward ensuring your church’s mission aligns with and serves the local community effectively.

Your reach area is your growth pipeline and potential.

EDITORS' NOTES — Mark MacDonald is a communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and church branding strategist for, empowering thousands of pastors and churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, on their church websites and social media. His church branding book, “Be Known for Something,” is available at

This article was originally published by The Baptist Paper.

Last Updated:    
June 25, 2024
Church Admin & Ops