FIRST-PERSON: Fall for evangelism
INDIANAPOLIS (BP) -- Is your church planning a family-friendly fall event for your community? It may be a pumpkin parade, Fall Fest, a fabulous hayride, trunk-or-treat, a candy-walk or the town's largest-ever city-wide, costumed hokeypokey.
You invest great effort and resources to advertise, extend invitations and create a first-class experience. But when it's over, will guests come back for church?
These three tips can help make your event a purposeful outreach.
Tip 1: Get each family's contact info.
Create a simple, 10-second family registration card, with three blanks: family's last name, number of children, and email or phone. Add a QR code registration option for cell phone users.
A greeter gives each arriving family a pencil and registration card to turn in at the entry area. No line. No hassle.
Bonus: Stage a pretty fall backdrop at the entry, where members with cameras and tripods receive the registration card. They snap a quick photo of each child posed to match their costume, and invite parents to pick up a free photo on Sunday in the church foyer. Again, no lines.
Tip 2: Personally invite guests to church.
A brief prayer time on the previous Sunday reinforces the goal: to show the joy of Jesus and give guests multiple personal invitations to church.
The sound guy, the popcorn server, the members who bring kids -- every church member present wears a nametag and knows the goal.
Print invitations to church, with info about worship, classes and upcoming kids' activities. Personalize Halloween tracts with church information.
Recruit lots of volunteer, "cruiser schmoozers," whose single purpose is to stroll around, chat informally with guests and invite them to church.
Add a "Meet the Pastor/Staff" sign in a visible area, i.e. snack table, fun booth, or near a giant pumpkin, so members can easily introduce guests to church leaders.
Tip 3: Follow-up before Sunday.
Immediately prepare an attendance list from registration forms.
A pre-assigned follow-up team uses email or the phone to make two contacts with each family before Sunday. First, a simple "glad you came & hope to see you Sunday" email with a link to the church website; second, a contact from a church member who has children, offering to meet the guests at a specific entrance to help pick up their photo and sit with them in worship.
When God brings those guests to church, welcome them warmly. Your fall event can be more than pumpkins and costumes. I'm praying it will impact eternity.
Diana Davis is an author and columnist from Pensacola, Fla. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or view here website, www.dianadavis.org. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).