How to do Family Outreach Every Month without Burning Out or Breaking the Bank
There’s a good chance this scenario has played out in your church.
You do a huge kid’s or family outreach each year:
An Easter Egg Hunt
A Summer Kick-Off
A Back to School Bash
A Harvest Festival
A Giant Christmas Production
And you probably have a good amount of guests show up, and they seem to have a great time.
You tell the guests all about where and when you meet on Sundays, and how you have a really fun environment where their kids will grow.
They leave with a smile and a card with your information and…
…you never see them again (or at least not until next year).
You wonder why they don’t come back: they know where and when you meet, they had fun, and who doesn’t want their kids to grow.
Yet they don’t show up on Sunday.
Or maybe you’ve had better results than the church I serve at.
I bet it would still burn you out to do a big event every single month.
And I bet your budget wouldn’t survive for long.
So what if there’s a better way to do outreach…more consistently…more sustainably…more cost effectively…more relationally.
What if you could engage the families in your church to participate in outreach on a monthly basis?
And what if the families in your church loved doing outreach, and experiencing the joy of being part of another families faith journey?
It’s a strategy we’ve embraced at the church I serve at.
And this is what it looks like (The concepts are transferrable, but you would need to customize the implementation for your families and your unique church setting):
Cast an inspiring vision for what it would look like to reach another family.
You can’t use a shotgun approach with this.
It can’t be invite your whole neighborhood and hope someone says yes.
Families won’t do it, and even if they do, they’ll quickly become discouraged when it doesn’t work.
Instead challenge families to focus on 1 other family at a time, to go deep, and to commit to the long haul.
Then encourage them to follow God’s leading in approaching the subject of Jesus and church.
For families to actually do this, inspiration is a non-negotiable; the vision needs to make families in your church excited about the possibility of reaching someone else.
Something along the lines of: “The Bible says to do outreach,” or “You can help the church grow” is not inspiring, and families won’t get behind it.
This is something that needs to come out of your heart and you knowledge of the families in your church.
Here’s an example from the church I serve at: We want to help you to go to another family, so you can experience the joy of being part of that family’s legacy.
This is based on the heart God has given our leaders, and what will inspire the families in the church to action.
For you, it will be different, it will be unique, it will be God given, and it will be great.
Give families practical opportunities to participate in outreach.
Again you’ll need to contextualize this, but the idea is that you challenge families to do at least 1 thing each month to deepen their relationship with the family they’re reaching.
It’s important that it’s not about bringing the other family to church; it’s only about you helping the families in your church build a better relationship with another family.
The families in your church need to know that you trust them to follow God’s leading.
Here’s some examples (You’ll notice these aren’t free, but if you spend a couple thousand on your big outreach, these will most likely come in at or below that number):
Break Night– Provide childcare and tell your church families to invite who their reaching on a double date. Use youth and young singles in your church to watch the kids; pay them if you can afford it. We charge church families $10 for 3 hours, and any guests they bring are free (If you have a 1:5 ration and pay each person $25 for 3 hours, it’ll be $15 for every 5 children).
Movie Night– We provide a Redbox code for a free rental and a couple bags of popcorn to every family that wants to invite the family they’re reaching over for a movie night(~$2/family).
Pizza Dinner– We give each family a gift card for 1 pizza to a place like Little Caesars or Dominos to use to invite the family they’re reaching over for dinner ($5-6/family).
Theater Night– This is more expensive, but we rent out a theater for families to invite who they’re reaching, and show a popular family movie (usually a Pixar animated film) ($500-800).
Keep families accountable.
This is really important and really difficult.
You want to hold families accountable to invest in a deepening relationship with another family, while at the same time not making the yourself seem pushy or like you’re guilt tripping them.
We send out a weekly email on Thursday with whatever opportunity we’re challenging families to participate in that month.
And on Saturday mornings we give families a simple idea to deepen the relationship with the family they’re reaching.
What we love about this approach to outreach is that families get to directly participate in evangelism and experience what it’s like to be part of God’s mission.
It’s also a much more relational approach, so when God leads a family to talk about Jesus and invite the family they’re reaching to church, when that family come the odds are they’ll be much stickier because they already know another family in the church who cares deeply about them.
What are some things you do every month to help families in your church participate in outreach?
We’re still working through this and would love any suggestions or thoughts.
Share or leave a comment.
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