29 Mar 2016
After Easter last year, I sat in a room with all of our church’s staff as we discussed a problem that nearly every ministry faces – decreased attendance in the Summer. Whether it’s vacations, events, or just the amazing weather, coming to church isn’t always highest on peoples’ priority list in the Summer months.
Since before we launched our church, we had always dreamed to be a place where Sunday morning was so enjoyable that people would literally plan their vacations around it. With this dream in mind, we came up with the simple idea that on every Sunday of the Summer we would do something that was unique to that day. We began dreaming up new, creative ways to create excitement for our attendees, generate buzz for outsiders to come, and build a reputation in our community that we’re a church where it’s okay to have fun. Our ideas ranged from subtle to extreme, but we discovered that there were a lot of ways to bring a little more excitement to our services.
Every Sunday that passed that Summer, we had some kind of special element. We gave away a grill on Father’s Day, had Bomb Pops on the 4th of July, took Greensboro’s Largest Selfie, and even had a “Character Day” for our kids with Elsa and Spider-Man coming to visit. The results were amazing! Not only did our attendance increase over the Summer, but our congregation was more excited than ever to come to church each week.
On one of our first Sundays doing this, a day where we planned to give balloons to all of the kids, I remember someone walking up to me and asking a question that really surprised me. When she saw the balloons, she asked, “Is there something special going on this Sunday?” And though she didn’t mean anything negative in asking this, it was a statement that was extremely disheartening for me. Those balloons were one of the least expensive ideas we did that Summer. To think that people had the mindset that it has to be a special Sunday to give away a 50 cent balloon blew me away. It lit a fire in me that inspired one of the best ideas we’ve had in our church.
What would happen if we committed to making every Sunday special? Sure, it was a lot of fun to add these special elements during the Summer and big days like Easter, but what about the rest of the year? After seeing the results of a few months of doing this, it was more clear than ever that this was not just a seasonal idea for us. We added fun in the Summer, but we never stopped.
It’s been nearly a year now since we’ve been intentional to make every Sunday a can’t-miss Sunday. To make this possible, we created a division of our creative team that we call the Moments Team. At the beginning of each season and before any major event, this team comes together to dream up ways to provide exciting experiences that bring joy and create lasting memories. This team also works hard on Sundays to execute these ideas for our church family. They’ve been allocated a small budget to make these ideas happen, but they have been able to come up with many ideas that are inexpensive or even free.
I can say without a doubt that this has made a huge impact on our church. Our congregation has always been passionate about Jesus and helping others find new life in Christ. Our culture is one of the best I’ve experienced for positivity, acceptance, and a general spirit of goodwill. But by being intentional about having fun on Sundays, we have changed peoples’ minds about what church can look like. Having “new life” isn’t just something we talk about, it’s something we do.
Walking into our church on Sundays has become like a breath of fresh air. Not only are attendees excited each week, but our volunteers stay energized to serve. While these special moments could never take the place of a genuine experience with God or the Holy Spirit’s work in our services, we feel that it’s shown to have a valuable place in our Sunday gatherings. These simple gestures often set first-time guests at ease and I’ve seen how they can disarm and break down walls for God’s love to shine in.
Here are some of the moments that have worked well in our church:
• Glass bottles of Coke with mustache straws (Father’s Day)
• Sunglasses with church logo
• Bomb Pops around July 4th
• Greensboro’s largest selfie
• Kid’s Character Day (kids dressed up as their favorite characters)
• Ice cream sandwiches on National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
• Facebook Page Like Contest (First three people to like our page win gift card)
• Sweet tea and lemonade
• Custom videos
• T-shirt giveaway
• Pumpkin spice lattes in the Fall
• Bounce House Day for kids
• Family photo booth
• Scripture videos blended with worship songs
• Everyone wore Panthers gear before the Super Bowl
• Cupcakes for our one year anniversary service
• Pumpkins for the kids before Halloween
• Caramel apple cider in the Fall
• Hot chocolate bar in the Winter
• Iced coffee on the first Sunday of Spring
• Popcorn and Coke during our Christmas movie series
• Clips from popular movies for sermon illustration
• Mix in popular top 40 songs with our worship set
• Selfie Sunday + team selfies
• Favorite Thanksgiving food poll
• Christmas polls (movies, songs, color of Christmas tree lights)
• Christmas music DJ
• Chocolate covered pretzel rods
What Do You Think?
Do you have any other moments that have worked well for your church?
Let us know by leaving a comment below!