Planning a Fall Festival at Your Church?
Here Are the ABCs!
by Jane Robinson
"If you want to reach the community in a nonthreatening way, if you want to provide a place where children can experience the love and safety of Jesus in troubled and dangerous times, then by all means plan a fall festival!"
This advice comes from Nichole Sims of Cedar Park, Texas. CTA recently interviewed Nichole, and we thank her for her willingness to share information about her fall festival, as well as contributing some of the following ideas to help you design and organize your own event. Adapt them to fit your location and resources. Remember, even a simple event sponsored by the church can bless both members and neighbors. In Nichole's words:
I believe God will use this kind of event to build his church and further his kingdom. The benefit is twofold. First, members of the church are blessed as we love God by loving others and serving the community. Also, the members of the community are blessed as they encounter Jesus in and through us!
Name a director. It makes sense to have one person ultimately in charge. You'll want this person to be able to delegate and take the leadership role this endeavor requires.
Give the director an executive committee to help. Committee members can each take charge of organizing a group of volunteers to achieve specific tasks and making sure the tasks gets done. The size of the committee will vary, depending upon the scale of your festival. If yours is a small church in a small town, two or three people may be able to do the job. On the other hand, planning activities and food for several hundred people will be easier if eight to ten people share the workload. Possible areas for assignment:
• Make the congregation aware of the upcoming event.
• Let the community know that your festival is coming soon and that they are invited.
• Prepare information about your church to give to festival visitors.
• Reserve space in advance.
• Plan for parking and parking lot safety.
• Decorate the space.
• Check with those in charge of other groups to find out what specific needs they have (e.g., electrical outlets, a large area for a game, tubs of water for apple bobbing).
• Clean up the space.
• Plan for musical entertainment.
• Enlist a master of ceremonies.
• Plan games and simple art projects for the children.
• Arrange for treats for the children to take home with them. Click here for ideas.
• Provide food for the occasion.
• Schedule food servers.
• Make contact with the visitors who attended your festival. Invite them to worship services and Sunday school.
• Share names of visitors in an organized way with your church's evangelism calling committee.
• Evaluate the festival, taking careful notes regarding what to repeat and what to avoid next year.
• Make reservations for next year (e.g., tables and chairs, inflatables for children to jump in).
• Staff the executive committee for next year.
Recruit volunteers and assign them to the group that will most benefit from their gifts and talents. Recruiting may not be as hard as you might think. Nichole told us, "Most members get excited about 'rolling up their sleeves' to work together to offer the community something that is free, loving, and safe."
Families appreciate a safe place for their children to be entertained at Halloween. When you hold a fall festival, you're providing that—and so much more! Perhaps some of the families who come will be led to the eternal safety of the Savior's loving arms!
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2008 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.