by Roger Fields
Since 1996, Kidz Blitz has conducted hundreds of family events in every denomination acrossAmerica. Here are the secrets we have learned.
WHY DO IT?
Like anything else you do, you need a reason why you would want to conduct a family event. The last thing you need is more responsibility for no good reason. Unless you have a clear objective, don’t do it. But, there are some good reasons for hosting a family event. Here are the best ones.
First, an event structured for both parents and kids generates a shared family experience. In other words, everybody enjoys doing an event together. That’s rare in our society and even rarer in church. Kids do most activities by themselves or with other kids: school, sports, play, computer, etc. It is not typical for parents and kids to engage in an activity together. The days of family farm work are gone. However, kids need to feel they are woven into a family. This is vital as they grow older and need adult input into life’s decisions. Shared activities help to weave families together.
Secondly, family events can be effective outreach tools. Since there are few events in the community that engage parents and kids together, non-churched and church attending families will often consider attending a creative event in a church that appeals to them. Think about this, polls have shown that 90% of the parents inAmericasay they believe they are responsible for the spiritual upbringing of their kids. Even non-churched parents have a felt need when it comes to impacting their kids spiritually. If the church offers an event that looks enjoyable and it helps parents connect with their kids, it will resonate with most families in your community. Don’t be afraid to make the event evangelistic. Non-churched families are not offended as long as the invitation to accept the Lord is not pushy or manipulative.
Thirdly, family events are the perfect way to get fringe people in your church involved. No volunteer position is safer than the one that will expire when the job is over. Mr. Johnson is not about to get involved in children’s ministry because he knows he might get trapped into volunteering indefinitely. But, a family event is different. He knows his kids will probably want to attend anyway so it is a small, safe step for him to jump in and help. What he doesn’t know is that he might actually enjoy working with people from the church. This temp job might be the perfect doorway into serving the in church on a regular basis. For this reason, family events almost always produce new church volunteers.
Here are a few secrets that will help you promote your event without spending a lot of money.
- Choose your words carefully. “Shared family experience” is often better received than “family event.” To many people, “family event” does not mean the entire family will enjoy it. It means the event is appropriate for kids. It might be the most boring event in the world and still be considered a “family event” just because there is no profanity, violence or sexual material. Here are some phrases that work well.
- “An exciting event for parents and kids”
- “A super-cool event parents and kids will both enjoy”
- “A red hot, fun event for mom, dad and the kids”
- Charge for tickets. Always. Never conduct a family event inAmericafor free. Americans assume “free” means “worthless.” If you want to make the event an outreach event for non-churched families, then NEVER do it for free. Non-churched families do not understand a free event. They think there is a catch somewhere. (Who knows, you might try to sell them a time-share.) They would rather shell out the money than risk being tricked into something that was promoted as “free.” I get a lot of resistance when I teach this in seminars, but this truth is a universal perception inAmerica, even in low-income areas.
- Setting a door price and a lower advance price will help you predict the size of your event. If the price at the door is the same as the advance price, you will have no idea how many people are coming to your event. If there is no incentive for them to buy tickets early, they won’t. If you decide to offer free tickets, you cannot rely on ticket distribution to indicate the size of the crowd. People will take free tickets in case they decide to come later. If there is no outlay upfront, there is no commitment to attend. If you give out free tickets, give out twice as many as the capacity of your auditorium. I have found that half the people who take free tickets will not come. The exception to this rule is some Christmas programs that have a capacity crowd each year and divide the crowd over several nights using free tickets.
- Motivate people to invite other people. People draw people. If the kids and parents of your church are enthused enough to invite other families to your event, it will be well attended. With the exception of a celebrity they already follow, people do not attend anything unfamiliar. Few people will attend your family event because they saw a poster, heard it on the radio, saw it on TV or spotted a billboard. Americans are advertisement resistant. Unless someone they trust encourages them to attend a particular event, they probably won’t come. Here are a few of the most effective–and inexpensive–ways to encourage your church to invite people:
- Show the kids an exciting promotional video so they will want their friends to experience the event. Let them see what you are talking about.
- Give away guest passes to paying families that can only be used for families outside of the church. They, in turn, will give them to their friends. This is different than a free ticket. A “guest pass” is a ticket worth the face value, therefore it is viewed as more valuable than a free ticket. Give kids guest passes. Something they can hold in their hands reminds them to invite other kids.
- Reward kids who bring 3 friends. It’s better to give away several small prizes as opposed to one large prize. A large prize will motivate, but when you give it away you will have made one person happy and disappointed all the rest. That’s a down note to end on.
- Put up cool posters around the church. This is cheap and easy.
- Enlist a large core of workers. Your event workers will not only help you run the event, they generate promotional momentum. They will talk to others about their responsibilities in the event thus they start a buzz. Once you get a buzz going you are over half way to a well-attended event.
- Choose an event that appeals to all ages. Most concerts and speakers appeal to only a specific age demographic. Events that prompt participation across age lines are the best family events. Fall festivals work well. An exciting field trip (ball game, zoo, etc.) provides an activity that families can do together. Kidz Blitz Live (my personal favorite J) is the premier, Christian, family event inAmerica. Whatever you choose, make sure it has the potential to create a buzz.
The more you conduct family events, the better you will get. From each experience you will learn something new. Build on what you learn, and soon you will be conducting events that connect parents with their kids, reach out to new families and involves new workers. That’s what I would call “wildly successful.”
Roger Fields is the president of Kidz Blitz Ministries and the creator of Kidz Blitz Live, America’s premier Christian event for the whole family. Roger has conducted hundreds of events coast to coast in every major denomination. Since 1996, Kidz Blitz Live has reached over 800,000 children and families with the Word of God and over 30,000 made first-time confessions of faith in Christ. Today, three event directors conduct these high-octane, family events nationwide and in Canada. He hangs out at KidzBlitz.com.