We have lots of events that take place on and off campus throughout the year, but we intentionally have four events each year where our sole purpose is to ‘get folks on campus to bump elbows with each other.’ We do ALOT off-campus love on our community, both locally and globally. But there is joy and work involved in making sure our own folks, all ages, all stages, have an easy win to invite their neighbors, co-workers, and family to church: when they can be sure it is done well, it’s for fellowship, and all hands are on deck without killing any one volunteer base.
The four basic parameters are:
- Partner with multiple areas so one area doesn’t have to take on all the work, or work in silo mode
- We don’t exhaust our volunteer base
- Space it out on the calendar so one event doesn’t immediately follow another and it matches the rhythm of our community
- Sole purpose – An easy invite for the whole family, not matter the age or the stage of life each person is open to give lots of folks the chance to bump elbows with new and old friends
Over the last three years, we’ve found these four church-wide events work for us:
- Palm Sunday – Adult praise band/choir Cantata (adult music) program at one service, Donkey selfies (worship), egg hunt (adults fill eggs picked up from children’s ministry since Ash Wednesday, and youth place them out to be hunted), missions luncheon (missions team provides a lunch with donations going to missions trips). Multiple areas involved in pieces, no one group is overloaded with responsibility, and it takes place in the spring with a follow up invite to Easter services.
- VBS End of the Week Party – Children in attendance from VBS, supper provided by team of volunteers who can’t serve during the day yet are available at night, Sunday school classes provide donations of food and supplies for the week, youth & adult volunteers on site every day, and takes place in the summer. Our pastor let us dye his hair and I took a pie to the face because we met our goal of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes…folks came out of the woodwork! We follow up with an invite to Blessing of the Backpacks at the beginning of school.
- Trunk or Treat – Enlist the help of some grill-cooks to have as part of their trunks, challenge the Sunday School classes with a prize for the most trunks represented, inflatables for kids to jump and adults to chat and bump elbows, youth to facilitate carnival games. This takes place the last Sunday in October during the regular youth/CLUB345/Adult bible study time. We follow up with an invite to multiple small groups.
- Drive-Thru Nativity – We started this in 2015 and it was a huge hit involving children, youth, animals, carolers, drama, costumes, hot chocolate, and pizza. All hands on deck, two nights, inviting the community, and we have the perfect drive way to pull it off. We had tried several things around Christmas, but this is the winner by far. We follow up with invites to Christmas Eve services.
We enjoy many different special activities church-wide, but there are four very specific to our folks bumping elbows with the community and each other. What about you?
“They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” Psalm 145:7