Fall is a favorite time of year for all of us in the South as weather cools & Football season kicks off. Fall also offers some great open doors for reaching out to the community through your church or small group. Here’s a few ideas for getting on the “Go…” (Matthew 28:19-20) this Fall:
1) Serve the Local School – No matter how open that your local schools are to church involvement, there are ways for you to serve them. And no better time to start then right at the beginning of the school year. Here are a few ideas:
- Pray. Host a prayer meeting for school officials & teachers & send notes letting them know you’re praying for them. And of course, have special prayer for teachers & administrators that attend your church. Recognize them as missionaries to the next generation.
- Lead a school supply drive for teachers or kids in low income school districts. Most teachers will have a list of needs or wants for their classroom & will know the kids that may need help buying school clothes & supplies.
- Stock the teachers lounges of local schools with baked goods & notes of encouragement from your church for the first two weeks or so of school.
- Get involved in the schools mentoring or tutoring program.
- And of course, encourage members to volunteer, get involved in PTA, & add salt & light to one of the most influentials places in your community (like it or not).
2) Fall Festivals – Whether it’s a Halloween alternative event like Trunk or Treats or just a Fall Harvest Party, Fall Festival type events have proven to be great cultivative and seed planting opportunities for many churches. During the summer, new people relocate to our communities & a special event that invites EVERYONE to your church can give them an opportunity to connect with the body of Christ. Don’t forget to plan for follow-up & celebrate the work of volunteers who plan & implement.
3) Outdoor Movie Nights – With weather getting milder & days getting shorter, outdoor movie nights make for a great fall outreach event. Our church has done these in local parks, in subdivision common spaces, or front & back yards. All you need is a projector, outdoor movie screen or large white sheet, & a popcorn machine. If you’re trying to cultivate relationships you can show a newer kid flick or classic movie. If you’d like to be a little more evangelistic & harvest oriented, you can choose a more evangelistic or directly Christian film. Another lesson learned, made for TV kids movies work great, b/c they are shorter & keep short attention spans engaged.
4) Tailgate Party – With Football season kicking off in the Fall, the words Tailgate Party will be plastered in every store & commercial coming our way. Redeem this seasonal phenomenon by hosting a Tailgate party at your church with great food & a big screen & speakers blaring the pre-game show &/or game. There is also a variety of Christian sports personality testimonies on sites like Sports Spectrum & I am Second that can be shown during half time or at a certain point during the game to make the event a little more evangelistic.
5) Hands on Service Project – Cooler weather also makes for a great time to get your hands dirty with a hands on Missions Project. In every community there is elderly & needy residents living in substandard housing. Connect with local relief agencies like the Council on Aging, Volunteers of America, or Parish Housing Authority about needs for wheelchair ramps, weatherization projects, etc. Or poll church members about widows & elderly living around them or in your congregation that may have needs. Wheelchair ramps are one of my favorite Fall projects.
What Fall Outreach ideas have worked in your area?