Feeling stuck in church growth or revitalization efforts is a common struggle for many pastors. If you’re managing members, administrative tasks, and longing to shift your focus towards transforming lives and communities, this guide is for you. Let’s help you to grow your church with invite-able events.

Understanding Invite-Able Events

Invite-able events are designed to attract not just your church members but also the broader community. These events should be engaging, address real needs, and create an environment where visitors feel welcomed and valued. The key is to design events that your neighbors will find valuable and ones that your congregation will be excited to invite their friends and family to.

The Importance of Target Focus

To create successful invite-able events, you need to be target-focused. This means understanding the specific needs and interests of those you’re trying to reach. Whether it’s a block party for young adults, a back-to-school fest for young families, or a retirement readiness group for empty nesters, your events should resonate with your target audience.

For instance, a “Back to School BBQ” might attract families with school-aged children, while a “High Tea for Women” could appeal to women looking for social and spiritual engagement. Tailoring your events to meet the specific interests of different groups in your community increases the likelihood of attracting visitors.

Have a Hand-Off

 it’s important to approach whatever event you are creating as if it is the first event in a series of events. A one-off event is nice, but it’s not very effective. If you have a handoff, that is another event that would be appealing to your target audience that’s coming up soon, you have a better chance of getting them to return. In general, I tend to recommend creating an upcoming sermon series that would be both relevant and valuable to your target audience. For instance, if you are targeting families with middle school children, creating a three-week sermon series called Parenting Panics Through the Puberty Problems, a series that uses biblical tips to help parents deal with the difficult transitions from childhood into youth, might be an attractive offering for your target audience.

Building Relationships through Events

Events aren’t just about attendance numbers; they are about building relationships. Remind your members that they’re not participants; they’re the event’s hosts. Their job is to engage with visitors in meaningful conversations. The goal is to connect visitors with members, creating a welcoming atmosphere that encourages return visits. And if your member happens to invite the visitors to the upcoming Parenting Panics series, all the better.

For example, during a “National Night Out Event,” members can engage with visitors through games, food stations, and community activities. Encourage your congregation to share their stories and listen to the experiences of newcomers, fostering a sense of community and belonging.

Capturing Contact Information

Capturing contact information from your visitors is crucial. Without it, follow-up becomes impossible. Implement strategies to collect visitor information, such as registration forms, door-prize entries, or digital sign-ups. Ensure you have a robust follow-up plan to invite these visitors back for Sunday worship, the Parenting Panic series, or other church activities.

Event Ideas to Get You Started

Here are some event ideas that have proven successful in various church settings:

  1. Block Party with Pony Rides: Perfect for families and children.
  2. Trunk-or-Treat: A safe and fun way for kids to celebrate Halloween.
  3. Back to School Fest with Free Kids’ Haircuts: Attracts families preparing for the new school year.
  4. Christmas Eve No-Practice Children’s Pageant: Involves children and attracts their families.
  5. Block Party with Food Trucks: A casual event that appeals to foodies and families.
  6. Kid’s Carnival: Featuring bounce houses, games, and food to draw families.
  7. July 4 Family Fireworks: A patriotic event that brings the community together.
  8. Ice Cream Sundays: A simple and fun way to engage families after service.
  9. Fishing Derby: Attracts outdoor enthusiasts and families.

Event Execution Tips

  1. Promote Widely: Use social media, local newspapers, flyers, and word-of-mouth to promote your events.
  2. Engage Your Team: Ensure your leadership team and volunteers are on board and well-prepared.
  3. Plan Ahead: Detailed planning ensures smooth execution and enhances the visitor experience.
  4. Follow-Up: After the event, send thank-you notes, invitations to future events, and information about your church services.

Making Events a Pathway to Sunday Worship

To turn event visitors into Sunday worship attendees, create processes that bridge the gap between events and regular services. This might include:

  1. Personal Invitations: Encourage members to personally invite event visitors to the upcoming follow-up event (the Parenting Panic series, for instance).
  2. Special Welcome Services: Host a service specifically designed to welcome new visitors.
  3. Visitor Integration: Develop programs that help visitors integrate into the church community, such as small groups or newcomer classes.

And So …

By creating invite-able events, you can transform your church’s growth trajectory. These events provide a natural and welcoming way for your congregation to invite friends, family, and neighbors, creating opportunities for meaningful connections and church growth. Remember, the goal is not just to host events but to create lasting relationships that lead to discipleship and community transformation.

Transform your church with events that draw visitors and create lasting impact. Your journey to sustainable growth starts now.