Like many churches, my kid’s ministry does a fall event every year. Last year, it was on a Sunday morning after church, and we saw a lot of our church gather in community outside of the church walls. It was a huge win. After the event, looking back at the individuals that attended, I realized that most of them were familiar faces. That is ok in many settings, but what I came to find out was that not many people invited their friends to the event.
I love events. I love putting a lot of work into something that brings a lot of people to community and fun. But an event is usually supposed to be an opportunity for people to invite people to the church. Every time I start to plan an event my first goal is for people that have never stepped foot into church, to attend. But usually, individuals will only attend because of a personal invite.
So this year, I decided we were going to do something completely different than all the rest of our fall events, I needed to go big. I wanted parents, teens, kids to post pictures on facebook, instagram, and twitter talking about how amazing this event was and how great it was to see so many unfamiliar faces. So my goal was to get as many unchurched people to attend at possible.
So trying to think outside of the box, I thought about renting a full size Ferris wheel…that wasn’t viable…had to get it delivered from Maryland, and it would cost more than my yearly budget. Next, I thought maybe we should have a rodeo, my boss, was unhappy with the potential liability at our location, and I agreed. Then…I realized, what if I rent a full size animal that no one has ever seen outside of a zoo. And after a couple brainstorming sessions with my team, we came up with a Giraffe. Safe, friendly, and awesome. As I pitched the idea to all my boss…he said, YOU HAVE TO DO IT! So…we did it. On Oct 25th, we rented a full size giraffe, so everyone can take pictures with it, feed it, pet it, but no riding I was told.
I was surprised by how many kids and parents said they are going to invite their neighbors because who can turn down the option to feed a giraffe on church property.
Of course, there are many other elements to my event, but I wanted something that people would invite their friends to. We will see if that is the case and we will be able to measure whether we succeeded at bringing unchurched individuals to our campus.
As you think about putting together events I came up with a few things to think about before you start the planning process.
- Can I define the win? – What’s a success and a failure. Vision, goals.
- What’s going bring new people to our Church? – What is going to make want to invite their neighbor?
- How are we going to capture all the information of the visitors to follow up? – Try Raffles – People will give all their information if they know they might win a giftcard.
- What are we going to invite them to once they get here? – Always have an event or activity that you can point people to try and make them stick.W
- Are you thinking Big Enough? – People have grown tired of the eggstravanzas, bounce house jumping, and the carnival themed parties. Those are great, but what are you going to do to stand out from the crowd. What is going to get kids so pumped they can’t stop talking about the event, and they drag their parents to the event?
- Organize, organize, organize. No matter if you have a lion, tiger, or bear, people’s entire experience can be ruined if an event is poorly organized. Invite volunteers to be apart of your event, and organize the heck out of it.
I hope your fall events are fun and exciting and you see a ton of new people. Don’t miss an opportunity to make your impact greater in the process.