By Gail Marsh
Back to School
- Invite high-school grads to a final “Sending Service” before they go off to college or enter the full-time workforce. Pray for the graduates’ physical safety, diligence in class and at work, and continued spiritual growth. Following the prayer service, give every attendee one of CTA’s customizable sweatshirt fleece blankets. This handy gift will encourage and comfort young people as they move on to the next stage of life.
- Give college-bound students the names and addresses of churches near campus. It will help them stay connected to the Lord, even while they’re away from their home church. Make sure everyone knows how to reach you during the coming year, too. Give out your phone number, e-mail, and address. Pledge your ongoing support and prayers as you say your goodbyes.
- Ask church members to “adopt” students for the school year. Collect the names of interested students and match them to church members. Provide suggestions for support like sending a birthday card on the student’s birthday, giving elementary students fun pencils or a new book, sending homemade goodies to college students during midterms, or giving a high schooler a Living for Him silicone bracelet.
- Add more fun to the kids’ area of your festival this year. Check out easy-to-make yard games, like Grass Twister - spray-paint colorful Twister dots right onto the grass. Or, Backyard Bananagrams - cut lauan plywood into 6- by 6-inch squares, paint letters on each square, and get ready to play right on the grass. If your property has a length of sidewalk, you can create a life-sized board game like Candy Land by using tempera paint or sidewalk chalk to transform each section into one square of the game path.
- Arrange the perfect photo backdrop at your festival. Here’s how: Set up near a beautiful fall tree on your property, or stack bales of hay as a backdrop, and place pumpkins and gourds near a bench. Plan to print photos immediately and give the pictures to festival attendees.
- CTA offers a Fall Festival value pack for kids attending your event. It has everything you need for a “Kids’ Korner”: a simple pumpkin craft featuring John 3:16, a plastic tumbler to hold finger food or apple juice, and a fall-themed goodie bag. Best of all, everything has a Christ-centered message!
- If you’re hosting a fall craft fair, your biggest challenge may be keeping little hands busy while moms and grandmas shop. Here’s an idea: As they enter the event, give each child one of CTA’s activity cards with a FREE sucker. Children can enjoy the candy treat and complete the printed activity while their accompanying adult has time to shop!
- Are you using CTA’s Steppin’ Out In Faith women’s retreat this fall? Looking for table toppers? Place flowers inside shoe “vases.” Begin by collecting a variety of shoes, boots, even bedroom slippers! Spray paint the shoes, add glitter, paint polka dots or stripes, and use any other fun craft supplies you have on hand. Cut floral foam to fit inside the shoe, insert silk flowers, and place a different kind of shoe on each table. You might even raffle off these unique table centerpieces at the end of your event.
- If you can’t seem to find time for a men’s retreat, try a “Rapid Retreat!” Plan one day for devotional time, fellowship, and service. Begin your day with 30 minutes of Bible study, discussion, and prayer. CTA’s Blueprints for Life has a FREE Ministry Message that can serve as your devotion and discussion topic. Later in the day, explain your service project. Consider doing yard work or house repairs for the homebound, building a wheelchair ramp, or volunteering for other local construction projects. Give specific assignments to the men, pairing experienced workers with those who have less experience. At the close of the day, gather together for snacks and closing discussions.
- Get your worship teams and choir participants together for a fall retreat this year. While you may be tempted to spend the entire time rehearsing new songs, don’t do it! It’s okay to plan some time for rehearsals, but focus on building relationships and strengthening each person’s commitment to the Lord’s work through music. Be sure to give each participant a take-home gift to remember the time you spent together.
Pastor Appreciation Month (October)
- Arrange a day for volunteers to spruce up your pastor’s yard: rake leaves, trim bushes, plant fall flowers, clean gutters and siding, freshen up the mailbox with paint, and more!
- Take a group photo of everyone in front of your church. Get the photo enlarged and framed as a gift to your pastor, along with a huge note of appreciation signed by everyone.
- Inspire church members to honor your pastor in meaningful ways all throughout the year. Ask your pastor to complete this survey. Distribute the completed survey to church members. Encourage them to follow through with an appropriate gift or act of service.
- Invite your pastors to lunch. Talk candidly about their schedule, specifically how many free evenings they have each week. Make an effort to reduce the number of nighttime meetings and obligations so that they have more time to spend at home. Also, discuss the activities they’d like to have more time to do like exercising, enjoying hobbies, and resting. Find ways to help. Consider meeting them for a daily morning jog or giving them a membership to a local gym. Offer free babysitting for a night out with their spouses or free dog-sitting for a day trip.
- Being a pastor can be a lonely job. Encourage church members to include your pastor and your pastor’s family on special outings. Invite your pastor to accompany you to a movie or dinner out. Call occasionally just to check how things are going. Offer to pray for your pastor and the ministry. Follow through with prayer!
- Invite worshippers to purchase items for a gift basket to give to your pastor’s family. Gather the donations in a large basket or gift bag. Include board games, movie tickets, snacks, and gift certificates to local family attractions.
The external links included in this article are provided for informational purposes only. CTA makes every effort to ensure the information included in these links is accurate and relevant; however, CTA cannot guarantee the content, nor does CTA endorse any of the products or services offered on the external sites.
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2017 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.