Yesterday was our 15th Annual “Friends & Family Day” at the South Green Street Church of Christ. I believe it was another great success and an encouraging day for everyone. We had over 625 present for our morning worship service. Over the past 15 years we have averaged over 709 in attendance on this day. (Also, keep in mind that this count is not collected from a “head” count, but solely by those who filled out their attendance cards. Thus the actual number is probably significantly higher). Also what this means is that it is nearly a 1 to 1 ratio between our members and visitors on this day.
Why do we we do this? Simple. We do it for fellowship. It is a great opportunity to get to worship with several Christian from other local congregations that we otherwise would never get to worship with. But secondly, we do it as an evangelistic tool to reach out to people who are not Christians. (Just yesterday, a young lady hung around at the door till most everyone had gone. She approached me and told me she was visiting because she had received an invitation, and that she was so impressed with everything that she and her children would definitely be back).
Not that we’re experts in what we do, but for those who might be thinking about incorporating a “Friends & Family Day” into their program of work, here are some of the things we have done that have helped our “Friends & Family Day” to be a success for the past 15 years.
- Preparation through sermons and articles about the power of an invitation (John 1; John 4).
- Use colorful, attractive post-card size advertisements. A well-done colorful ad will get people’s attention.
- Get these post card fliers into the hands of your people six weeks in advance.
- We don’t advertise through the newspaper. Newspaper advertising is expensive. Not many people will take the initiative to attend a new church on the basis of a newspaper ad. They will, however attend when they are personally invited.
- Create an attractive template for an email message. Send that to all your members, and ask them to send it to their friends. Don’t use it to SPAM people. Just send to your friends.
- Get the building and grounds in order. View the building and grounds as a first time visitor would view it. You might be surprised what you learn about yourselves. Also, you might find many changes that need to be made to make yourself more helpful to visitors.
- Lengthen the time between Bible class and worship so that people will have extra time to connect with friends they invited, meet and greet visitors, and find a seat.
- Have your own members park away from the building, leaving the close spaces for visitors.
- Assign people to help with directions, e.g. to classrooms, restrooms, etc.
- Follow up. We have over 150 members who have volunteered to send 10 cards, thanking visitors for their presence. That’s a total of 1,500 cards! Spread that over 150 to 200 visitors, and each person will receive 7 to 10 encouraging cards from people other than just the preacher. Also, make sure these cards are received prior to the next Sunday.
- Put something in the hands of the people who are present that they take home with them, and make it attractive (e.g. outline, information about the church, tri-fold brochure, bookmark, etc.).
Friends, these are some of the things that we do, and they have worked well. These suggestions are offered in hope that you may find them helpful in your work.