’Tis the season . . . to think strategically about how you are going to take advantage of the upcoming holiday season!
What do I mean by that? You are moving into one of the best opportunities in the year to let those in our community know who you are. You know you will see some of the highest attendance numbers of the year in the upcoming holiday season, so how do you move some families from “Christ-easters” (Christmas and Easter only attenders) to people who would consider attending church at other times of the year? You strategically think out how you are going to let families know what you have to offer them! At Orange, we believe all parents want to be good, if not great, parents. As an ORANGE church, you offer parents resources that can help assist them in their parenting. So, during this amazing season, how do you let parents know about what it is you value and do at your church? Think through multiple ways to get this message out to both visiting families and families in your community in general. Most people are more willing to “hear” us during this season, so let’s make the most of it.
Events for the Community
While you will have some families who will show up out of habit, how do widen your circle, getting more families to interface with you? Have you thought about doing a family experience that revolves around Christmas? We offer our Jingle Jam FX in a box to help you pull off this kind of opportunity to engage families outside of your “inside” circle. Or, if you are doing some kind of outreach, could you invite families not in your church to get involved? Offering opportunities to be a part of something you are already doing at your church. Maybe inviting them to participate with you in Operation Christmas Child or Angel Tree, etc. Invite them in as a part of this kind of opportunity to show them the heart of who you are!
Sharing Who You Are
Once you have families coming into your church through some kind of event, serve opportunity or your regular services, be sure you are letting them know about you. Prepare a take-away that gives them a peek into what you offer to families throughout the year. Be sure to have some kind of card telling them about free resources like the Parent Cue app, Studio252.tv or our Phase resources (http://justaphase.com/). You could even give them the opportunity to pick out a Phase summary card that matches one (or more, if you like!) of their children. Let them know you are FOR them as a parent!
After the Holidays
Invite them to something they will view as helpful AFTER the holidays are over! Be sure they know you are interested in them beyond just the holiday season. That you want something FOR them, not from them. Plan a MarriedPeople Date Night in, say maybe . . . February (Valentine’s Day!) where you provide free childcare for their children plus a fun guide to help them with the “what to do” on their date, giving them the opportunity to take time out for their marriage. You could also do this DURING the holidays to provide a chance to get their Christmas shopping done! Or, plan an open small group that revolves around parenting (check out Parenting Beyond Your Capacity for this.) Plan another Family Experience for Easter or the springtime, letting families know it’s coming while they are with you for the holidays.
The Rest of the Year
Be sure to roll these ideas for letting families know more about you into your normal routine! How are you engaging visiting families throughout the year, letting them know what you have to offer and how you partner with parents beyond Sunday morning? As you create your holiday visitors’ pack, be sure you can tweak it to easily be handed out on a regular basis. Include other pieces, like an explanation of the Parent Cue card (available in the TRAINING tab for each curriculum), a quick summary of what it means that you are an Orange church, a calendar of opportunities for them to take advantage of some of the things you offer to families (use above ideas throughout the year!), etc.
While the increased numbers during this holiday season are wonderful, think about what it would mean to families if they saw you as a resource throughout the year, not just an opportunity to check the church attendance box for Christmas (and Easter). Let your light shine on how you are FOR them throughout the year. Tell them or they may never know. And, the message we bring to the world is too great to miss!