New Strategy for Seeing Fall Festival Guests Return

It's that time of year.  Churches everywhere are gearing up for their Fall Festival.  We're in the middle of our preparations.

One of the biggest questions churches ask as they prepare is, "How do we see the guests who attend come back on a Sunday for services?"

That's a question we wrestle with every year.  We've tried lots of different strategies.  We've tried big giveaways, follow-up emails, follow-up phone calls and starting an exciting new weekend series following the festival, just to name a few.

And to be has been with limited success.  Yes, we've reached a few families with these strategies, but we want to be more effective at seeing the guests who attend our Fall Festival return and become a part of our church family.

And I've got a feeling you're thinking the same thing.  I've yet to hear of a church that has cracked the code on this and been able to see a high percentage of guests return from their Fall Festival and become connected long-term to their church.

So with this in mind, we went back to the drawing board and have developed a new strategy that we're piloting this year.  I'm going to share it with you.

We're casting vision to our church familiy that the Fall Festival is a great opportunity to invite their unchurched friends, neighbors, family and co-workers to the church.  People will come to a Fall Festival that would otherwise never set foot inside a church...if they are invited.

We started this past weekend (4 weeks out) encouraging our church family to begin inviting people to come with them to the Fall Festival.  We showed this video and our campus pastors talked about it from stage. 

Provide invite tools.  We are providing invite cards that our church family can use to invite people with. 

We will have a guest VIP area at the Fall Festival that our church family can bring their guests by.  This area will be exclusively for guests who have never been to our church.  It will be stocked with extra candy and a gift for every guest.  The gift will be a ball with our children's ministry logo and website on it.  We will also have key staff and volunteers there to meet the guests and spend time with them.  Our church family will know ahead of time to bring their guests by this area.

We will give guest families an invitation to come back for a Sunday service.  At the guest area mentioned above, we will give guests an invite card to a weekend service.  The kids will be able to redeem the invite card for a free t-shirt when they return.  The t-shirt will have our logo on it.

We're casting vision for our church family to do the primary follow-up with the guests they bring.
  The primary reason a guest is going to come back is because of a relationship they have with the person who brought them.  So we're going to be encouraging our church families to invite their fall festival guests back for a weekend service. 

We will provide photo opps with costumed characters for families.  We know families love to take pictures of their kids with characters.  They will stand for hours in line at Disney World for this.  The photo opps will also include our children's ministry logo as part of the background.  This will not only provide memories for families, but will also help us spread the word about our children's ministry as parents post the pictures on social media.

It will be interesting to see how this strategy does.  I'm excited to see what happens.

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  What are you doing to encourage Fall Festival guests to come back for weekend services?  Is there something you've done in the past that has worked well?  Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment section below.