One thing that was added onto my plate this year was running our weekend events. For the past two months and going into December our ministry is putting on two weekend events a month. I was a little nervous, I won’t lie to you. Now we are half way through the end of the year, half events are done and over while some are still coming up.
Why did we decide (I did not decide to do this, I was asked to do it) to throw these weekend events and what makes that so different from what we have done in the past?
In the past:
- We have thrown 3-4 big events all year long on a Friday night and tons of kids would come. Especially first timers.
- Tons of new students would come, but we would not really see them come back on the weekend.
- The events would be huge and take up a ton of budget but with not the pay off that we wanted…returning new students.
What we have been trying:
- Throwing smaller but more frequent events, twice a month.
- We attached all of our events to after a service.
- This gives the students an opportunity to invite their friends to church and then to the event after.
- From what we have seen, new students are coming to church, sitting in service, going to the event after and then coming back the next week.
- Just this week, Josh told me a story of a girl who came to our Halloween Homecoming last weekend who came to service because she was invited by a friend, stayed for the dance and had a blast and now is getting into a small group! So exciting.
This is something that is not ground breaking but it’s different from what we have been doing and it seems to be working. Students are are inviting their friends and their friends are coming back to hear about Jesus. I think a big part of it is because we (HSM) are giving them great opportunities to invite a friend to a place that is fun but Jesus will be taught. I have met so many new students over the past few weeks and it’s been awesome to see them connecting.
What are some of the after service events we have done so far and are planning to do?
- Video game trucks, out door laser tag and photo booths.
- 100 ft banana split
- Pancake Breakfasts on Sundays. After our big homecoming weekends we promoted it as “bring your homecoming party to Sunday services and we will feed all of you.” We did this because a majority of our students come on Saturdays.
- Halloween Homecoming Dance (See picture above). We promoted it as “Come to services and get in for free otherwise it’s $5 at the door. We had a great dance, snacks, a photo booth, pumpkin painting and had some food trucks come and serve dinner.
- We have two movie nights coming with full on snack bar. One of the movies will be Elf and it will be food from the movie.
- Killball, our version of dodgeball. Click here to see the rules.
- Christmas production instead of Christmas services.
It’s been fun to see students bringing friends, seeing that has been worth it and the reason in which I feel we made this simple but effective switch.
What are some events that you throw that you feel that have gotten new students connected and to come back to check out what church is all about?