Generating enthusiasm among church members is challenging when many have not returned to your church, and others have headed out of town to enjoy their new freedom. But, no matter what attendance currently looks like at your church or parish, there are things you can do or implement to bring small groups of people together safely. So how can start using small events to engage your congregation?
New Member Class: Online church during the pandemic had an impact of drawing new church attendees to congregations all across America. As churches open, some new people will transition to these churches, and some will officially join the church. Now is a good time to hold New Member classes. Keep the maximum number of attendees per class reasonable so they can make connections within the group. You may want to limit the gatherings to an hour and schedule a few of them per group. Allow lots of questions and introduce the participants to staff members and volunteer opportunities. Using this type of small event to engage newcomers is a great start. Just make sure they feel welcome and plug them into your ministries.
Online Bible Studies: There is a need for personal connections. Encourage group leaders to host Bible studies through online video conferencing if it’s hard to get everyone in person. Keep studies short to just six or seven weeks to keep people’s interest. Leaders should plan ice-breakers to encourage personal interactions and establish connections within the group. These activities will help participants become more comfortable and open to the discussions.
Marriage Seminar: To encourage participation, offer a two-hour marriage seminar instead of a longer or multi-day session. Bring husbands and wives together to have a couple of hours of intentional time to strengthen their relationship. Even though the time is shorter, couples can still make positive progress talking about their marriage and building goals for a meaningful future.
Youth Game Day: Our young people are craving time with one another. They have grown weary of being isolated and distance learning and all that came from the pandemic. They need relief and a healthy way to blow off some steam. Youth groups are meeting together online, and some have in-person opportunities as well. So why not plan a day filled with games that they can come and enjoy? Encourage them to bring their friends from school and spend time outside enjoying sports and games together.
Community outreach events have been gearing up in most areas. Whatever you’re able to do, let’s put prayerful thought into every aspect, knowing that God will reach people, and we are simply His messengers.
As we start meeting again, the usual big events may make some uncomfortable, but church staff members can turn to small events to keep enthusiasm high among all church members. For more ideas on having a big impact with using small events to engage, check out this free downloadable Small Events Big Impact ministry guide.
Carol has worked in the ACST Marketing department and managed most aspects of marketing over the last 20 years. Before ACST, she spent many years handling marketing for companies across the US including, Novell, WordPerfect, Purolator Courier, ArtToday.com, and U.S.News&World Report. Carol is a cradle Catholic who has been active her entire life (a long time!) and has served in volunteer positions within her parish, including formation instructor, lector, code red responder, and numerous other volunteer roles.