In the first four weeks of August, my church has welcomed 40 first time guests to the church. That’s an incredible number, even if we weren’t dealing with a pandemic.
We only had 27 FTG’s in the month of February, and that was before we ever knew about COVID-19.
Which tells me something…people are still looking for a place where they can gather and worship Jesus.
Now, I know there’s still a percentage of people who aren’t ready to come back into a church building right now and that’s absolutely fine, but for those who are, we are going to put some plans in place to get them to church.
In this post I want to share our plans with you in case you want to do something similar.
So, here are the four big days we’re planning for this fall.
September 27th – The Pumpkin Patch
We got this idea a few years ago after noticing the popularity of paid pumpkin patches in our local community. We thought, why not create our own pumpkin patch and give away pumpkins to every child who attends. Here’s how it works, the week leading up to the 27th we’ll go pick up pumpkins from a local farmer, and on that Sunday as kids are leaving they’ll each get to pick out their very own pumpkin. There’s a small cost associated with it, normally between $2-$4 per pumpkin, and you’ll spend a couple hours picking them up, but it creates a really good Sunday morning experience for families.
Bonus Step: You can upgrade this experience by offering an apple cider stand. Think lemonade stand, but with apple cider. It’s even better if you have kids working the stand.
October 25th – Trunk or Treat
This is not a new idea, but it’s definitely an idea that works. Chances are you have a hard time getting families to show up on a consistent basis. The average church member now attends about twice a month. When you have events like Trunk or Treat on a Sunday, most families tend to show up. Here’s how it works, you recruit some volunteers from your church to decorate their car trunks and bring candy to give out to the kids after the service. Because the volunteers are providing their own trunks and candy, it really doesn’t cost the church anything. Most of the kids in your neighborhood are going trick or treating somewhere, why not invite them to experience your church in the process.
Bonus Step: Invite some adults to dress up as well. Have a couple of teenage boys dress up as Batman or Spider-Man. Ask a young lady to dress up as one of the Disney princesses. Kids will love it.
November 22nd – Friends and Family Day
This is the time of year people normally begin getting together for the holidays, so why not invite them to get together at your church. Statistics show that the vast majority of people will attend a service when invited by a family member or friend. This number goes up even more if there’s going to be food there. If food isn’t on the menu this year, then get the kids involved by having them do a little performance on stage during service. Kids have a way of getting people to church. During the service, make sure to invite everyone back for the Christmas series you’ll be kicking off the following week.
Bonus Step: Chances are you have someone who does photography within your church. If not, search for a photographer in your community who you can pay to come take family photos and give them away for free.
December 20th – Christmas Services
For many churches their Christmas service is the second highest attended day of the entire year. I can imagine people will be even more eager to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the hope He brought into the world after the year we’ve just experienced. On this day, you don’t have to do anything elaborate. Keep it simple. Sing some Christmas carols, light a few candles, and tell the Christmas story. It’s a story that never gets old, and never loses its power.
Bonus Step: Make it feel a little more Christmassy by decorating your church and setting out cookies and hot chocolate. Depending on the size of your church, you may even consider sending every child home with a stocking full of goodies.
P.S. I added the dates we plan on doing these events this year to just give you an idea of how we spread them out. You may find that other days work much better in your schedule.