Fall Engagement Ideas for Churches
It’s September, which means summer vacation is officially over and the fall season is underway. I live in Alabama, so it doesn’t really feel like fall yet; it still feels like Dante’s Inferno outside. Nonetheless, my kids are headed back to school and so is my wife (she’s a teacher). And because school is back in session, your church has probably made the transition back to fall programs.
Alongside of your regular fall schedule, your church also likely has various special events and activities planned for the season. Maybe you are hosting a “Fifth Quarter” for students after one of the local high school’s football games, or maybe you have a women’s event planned. Perhaps you have a fall festival scheduled in October, or a wild game feast for your men’s ministry. Maybe the youth group is going on a fall retreat, or perhaps you are hosting a conference. Our church is planning a Fall Semester Kickoff Party, a women’s getaway, and a food truck feast in our parking lot.
Whatever you’ve got on the calendar, (and you need a master calendar!) make sure that you have a clear plan for communicating everything the church is up to throughout the season. We learned the hard way two years ago when our women’s ministry planned an event, but didn’t yet have a defined channel of communication. They tried a few different ways of get the word out, but because they didn’t have an established line of communication, some ladies never learned about the event and got their feelings hurt. To be clear, this wasn’t our women’s ministry director’s fault, it was my fault. I should’ve worked with the team to help establish a clear strategy for communication. So we got together and discussed the best way to communicate all women’s ministry events, and then we consolidated existing communication channels to drive every person to the same place.
We ended up doing the same thing across the board. Now everyone in our church knows where to look to see what’s going on. If you don’t have a clear plan for communication, its time to put one together. Think through how are you going to let folks know what’s going on this fall.
Another thing we’ve learned about communication is to not limit it to those inside the church. You need to have a plan for letting people outside of your church know what is happening as well.
Everything that we have on the calendar is seen as an opportunity to invite others in.
We promote, advertise, and invite the community into nearly everything we do.
Do you have a fall sermon series planned? Invest in a solid graphic and use direct mail to invite your neighbors to join you for worship. Does your church have small groups? Sunday school? Both? How are you letting the community know about what you have going on? Do they know that they’re wanted and welcome? All of you kids programs and events are great opportunities to speak the language of families in your community. You can and should leverage the normal, regular stuff that your church does to reach out to your neighborhood!
And you should definitely be promoting the special events. Even the fall engagement programs that might be considered more for “insiders” are opportunities to invite in “outsiders”. Unless an event is a “closed group” (such as a leadership training or a member’s meeting), you should leverage it to reach out.
Fall is here. Are you ready for it? Do you have a plan? As you develop your fall schedule, make sure that you have a clear way to communicate everything that is going on, both to the church and to the community. Then, budget for your communication strategy accordingly, whether it be for bulletins, graphics, mailers, ads, or signs. A clear strategy here will go a long way, and I trust you’ll reap the benefits.