Thursday, February 28, 2013

Show Your Community You Care . . . Offer Free Family Fun Events!

Churches used to be the center of community life - families went to church on Sunday, children went to church for school all week and the community used the church for gatherings and special events. Times have certainly changed. In far too many cases, today our churches are viewed as places for "church people", not places for the community. Let's think about how we can "throw open the doors of our churches", welcome our community in and see if we can re-establish our churches as the place where everyone goes and finds the center of their community life!

Consider some of the following "door-opening" ideas and see if any of them might "fit" your church and community!
  • Saturday Picnics at the Church - if your church has a nice yard and the weather is nice, this is a great and natural way to invite your community to experience your church in a non-threatening way. Even if you are a city church, without a yard, set up portable carports for shade and use foam core to make "trees" complete with blossoms for the Spring, green leaves for the Summer and colored leaves for the Fall - place these around your parking lot and "create" your own "park/yard"! Promote throughout your community and invite families to join you on the first Saturday of the month for a picnic lunch, games and just a time of fellowship and fun! Always bring extra sandwiches, bags of chip, lemonade and cookies to share with anyone who shows up without a lunch - you could ask church families to bring enough for their family and to share with another family. As people see your picnic each Saturday, it will generate interest and curiosity and there is no telling how many community people may join in on the fun! (Move your picnic inside on rainy Saturdays)
  • Monday Morning - Pick-Me-Up! - Involve your church "early-birds" in this opportunity to provide coffee for people in your community who are on their way to work! Promote throughout your community and invite people to swing by your church on their way to work for a free cup of coffee. You could even set up a small "cafe'" in your foyer for any who want to sit and enjoy their coffee, but for most if you have a table with a coffee pot, cups and lids you will be all set to hand out a cup of coffee with a smile and warm greeting to any who stop by!
  • Family Movie Night - Choose one month and then promote your church as "the" place to be each Friday evening for Family Movie Night! Ask families to bring lawn chairs and blankets - have extras for anyone who shows up without them - set up a projector and show the movie on the side of your church as soon as it gets dark! Provide popcorn and lemonade and you have an opportunity for the entire community to come together for family fun! Be sure to get a license to show videos by contacting Swank Motion Pictures - 1.800.876.5577 for info on how to get this license for your church.
  • Chili Cook-Off or Cookie Bake-Off! - Open the doors to your kitchen and invite families in and out of your church to prepare their best chili recipe in your cook-off! Provide a prize, trophy or ribbon for first, second and third place and plan for a lot of fun! Bring in chips, corn bread and chili toppings for a huge dinner/picnic after the cook-off . . . after all, you have to do something with all that chili! :-) You could have a simultaneous Cookie Bake-Off in your church kitchen - provide a prize, trophy or ribbon for this, too and then the cookies will be able to serve as the desert for your dinner/picnic!
  • Plan an Egg Hunt, Summer Water Festival, Fall Festival or a Snowman building competition complete with game booths, plan to paint faces, set up a photo booth and allow families to dress up for a photo, make a maze in a classroom or out in your parking lot - use your imagination and have fun! (Check the director's info in your VBS and look at the Kick-off event for ideas of what to do)
These are just a few ideas for ways to make your church the center of community life in your town. With the economy as it is, families may not have the resources do go out and do things as a family. Take the opportunity to make your church the place where families gather for fun as a family and with others! Get a team of creative people together and see if any of these - or something you come up with on your own - might "fit" your church and be a way for you to show your community you care!

1 comment:

  1. While praying today, I asked God to give me creative ideas on ways to connect with parents of kids in the neighborhood - especially, the kids who attend our church without a parent. We do big events (Easter egg hunt, Christmas block party, etc) but I want to start having "Family Fun Nights" on Fridays and other simply family-oriented events. Thanks for the ideas!