If every single person within a 15-minute drive of your church were asked if they knew your church existed, how many of them would say they were aware of your church? We’ve had people attend one of our events who lived within 500’ of the church who told us they didn’t know we were a church until we held the event…and our church is over 100,000 square feet on over 30 acres. How can that be? The person had lived in their house for over 10 years and our church had been there all 10 years. This is crazy.
There’s a good chance that very few people are aware that your church exists. If they don’t know it exists, how might they find their way to drop by on a weekend? We recommend holding events that are of value to the community that also bring awareness to your church.
The Basics – there are two times each year that you should own your community – Christmas and Easter. Historically, these are two days that people are very open to attending a church event. Notice I said event! Don’t just do normal church (and just because you’ve added bagels or some special food doesn’t mean it’s special to someone attending for the first time. Instead make it an event. Have something that would really attract the community. Have something for everyone and every age. For Easter, we’ve done things as elaborate as Easter eggs dropping form a helicopter (sounds elaborate but it was just a few hundred dollars to have someone with a helicopter fly over and dump out a few thousand plastic eggs). That event unexpectedly attracted 7,000 people. Everyone just wanted to see how eggs were going to drop out of a helicopter – and they were of course thinking real eggs. For Christmas consider something that is interesting and inviting for the whole family. We rented a small train and gave kids rides around the church in a train we put Christmas lights on – again, thousands of people came.
The Not-So-Basic – there are a few other times of the year with great opportunities to get individuals and families to come onto your church site. In the summer you can put together vacation bible schools and camps in which parents can drop their kids off for 3-4 hours a day for a week. In the fall you can hold a Fall Festival around Halloween. Get pumpkins and decorate with hay bales part of your parking lot. Get face painters and have some music and food. People want to get out and do things in their community. The Church is a logical and great place to host these events. The early Church was the center of the city and community for a reason. It’s where people came to congregate – hence the formation of congregations.
The Extra Credit – What if you did something that became the pinnacle of your community. You created something that everyone in your community was aware of, looked forward to and couldn’t wait to attend? We created something that turned into this…and we had no idea how big it would become. We had a decent sized parking lot and thought we would create a Christmas Lights Drive Thru during the month of December for our community. It did take a little bit of an investment. We talked to several consultants who had a lot of experience in lights drive throughs. We made the local media aware of the Drive Thru, told them it was free and we did it for our community to create Christmas traditions for families – you know, going out and looking at Christmas lights. The first night we had traffic backed up for 5 miles in every direction. That year we had over 70,000 people come through it over a 30 day period. It put our church on the map. Everyone in the community knew our church – the one that had the Christmas Lights Drive Thru. When Covit hit, we were the only game in town that people could safely attend (because they stay in their cars and don’t have interaction with any of our volunteers. Over 260,000 people tried to attend the Drive Thru in 2020. We filled to capacity for every one of the 30 nights we were open and almost 130,000 people got to experience the Drive Thru. By the way, it was free however donations and concession sales brought in more than it cost to run the event.
Events are a must in helping your community become aware of your church. If you’d like more information of the many types of events your church can do to reach the lost in your community, we recommend attending one of our 6-week Church Goals classes. We provide in depth resources for a host of events you can do at your church. Follow this link for more information: https://bit.ly/ChurchGoalsClass