Many churches have special events at Easter for children. Many churches have an Easter Egg Hunt. One church in our city has a petting zoo every year. It's a fun event for kids and they serve snacks, play games, and get to interact with baby animals. Lots of unchurched people from the neighborhood surrounding the church attend.
The church doesn't do a petting zoo every Sunday. They don't serve special snacks each week to the kids and they don't have an Easter Egg Hunt each week. Also, the children's ministry doesn't even meet at the same time on a regular basis that they hold the special events for Easter.
Yet somehow, because of the petting zoo, and all the money and time spent on the goodies and the Easter Egg Hunt, the people in the children's ministry assume that the unchurched families in the area surrounding the church will come back to Sunday School the following Sunday because their kids had so much fun.
When they don't, the church staff is often disappointed, but they forget parents aren't mind readers. They have no idea what this church or any church does on a regular basis and no hint of why they should bother to get out of bed early Sunday morning to take their kids to some program they know nothing about.
A flyer like the one here is essential to give out at Easter. On the back you can invite families to your regularly scheduled children's ministry events. In addition to that, a clear link to your website can make a huge difference in ongoing response. Following are some ideas how this works.
How your website can help change this response
If you are a parent of young children, when you see an advertisement for a program for kids, a new game, a special food, anything advertised for kids, what is the first thing you do to check it out?
You will check out the website. On any commercial product or program of any kind, the website is always prominently displayed. That is the next step to find out about the product.
On the site it explains and illustrates the benefits of the product. It will answer questions, tell you where to get the product, and give you instructions on how to contact someone for more information if you have questions.
If this is the obvious that any commercial business does; why do we assume in the church that people will know all about what we offer kids on a weekly basis if we don't tell them?
The assumption that people will know what the church does on a weekly basis might have worked twenty years ago when the church culture permeated our world and everyone had a pretty good idea what churches did on a weekly basis, but that is no longer true today.
What needs to be done on your website to connect with your unchurched guests
Ahead of time you need to prepare a section on your website for people who take part in children's events at Easter. Be sure it has a clear link from the home page; even better yet might be the creation of a blog or section parents could go to directly and first. Be sure your church's social media links to it.
Once parents get there, here are some ideas for content that will help connect visitors to your children's ministry on an ongoing basis:
- Have a positive thank you for the families who participated in the Easter events.
- Explain what you do on a regular basis in the children's program at church, in an upbeat, friendly way.
- Have pictures of your children's staff and volunteers. Give their background and experience of working with kids and that gave an email address where visitors reach them if they had more questions.
- Assure parents of the screening you do for children's workers, explain your child check-in and safety guidelines.
- If you do up the site before Easter, you could have invitations to the site and include some fun things parents could do with their kids such as a PDF for making Resurrection Cookies
- Consider adding a Q&A about your children's ministry or a FAQ section. For the content in it have someone in the community tell you the kinds of questions they have for your church.
- Articles, resources, anything else you can think of that tells folks you love kids, love Jesus and want them to come back.
How to get people to your website
Don't let your website be as hard to find as an Easter egg. Ahead of time create invitation cards, postcards and door-hangers, with your website prominently displayed on them. Double check your social media so links back to the church website are abundant and easy to find. At your church service, include a bulletin insert that tells them what you do on a regular basis and invites them to check out your church and the Christian faith. Again, make your website URL clear and easy to find.
At special events during the day such as Children's egg hunt or whatever you might do, give out a take home paper that invites them back and tells people where to go for more information, website and phone numbers included.
CLICK on the image at the start of this article to download a PDF you can use and personalize on the back with the website. Or create your own. ***It is far more important to give this out than it is to give out candy because this is what can make an ongoing link with visitors to your church.***
Whatever you do, be intentional about linking guests to your website and children's ministry so you can form relationships that will help them and their children find a forever relationship with Jesus.