5 Keys to a Great Back-to-School Sunday

VBS has ended.  Camps are complete.  Family vacations are wrapped up.  School is about to be back in session (or may have already started for you).  Time to bounce back strong from the summer slump and re-engage kids and families in your ministry.  It's vital to get them back into a regular rhythm of church attendance.

Most churches have an attendance flow with January to Mother's Day and the beginning of the school year to November being times of growth.  A back-to-school Sunday can help you kick off the growth of your fall season of ministry.  Here are 5 keys to a great back-to-school Sunday.

Key #1 - Have it 1-2 weeks after school starts back.  This ensures that all of the kids and families are back in town.  It also gives the kids who are part of your church a week or two to invite their friends at school. 

Key #2 - Contact all of the kids and families who have attended before.  Pull up the contact information of every kid and family who have attended in the past.  Reach out to them and invite them to be there.  You can do this through email, a brochure, social media, phone calls, text message or a letter.  Better yet, use more than one method of contacting them to ensure you connect with them.

Key #3 -  Encourage kids to invite their friends.  This is a great opportunity for the kids who are part of your church to reach their schoolmates with the Gospel.  Create invite cards and get them in the hands of the kids in your church.  Give the kids ideas for how to get their friends there like hosting a sleepover the night before, having a party at their house afterwards, etc.  You can even have a contest and see who can bring the most friends from their school.  I have done this and seen kids bring up to 10 guests.  I once even had a kid bring 22 friends from school! 

Key #4 - Go all out to have an exciting weekend.  Make it fun.  Bounce houses.  Games.  A gift for each child who attends.  An engaging lesson (this is a great weekend to do a stand-alone lesson that shares the Gospel / here's an example lesson at this link).  Photo spots for families.  Characters for picture opps.  Sno cones.  Recognize the schools in the service.  The sky (or budget) is the limit.  FYI - this is definitely a weekend you want to invest some of your budget money in.  Another tip is to let "back-to-school Sunday" be the tag line and think up a fun, exciting name to call the day.

Key #5 - Follow up with guests.  The best follow-up is found in key #4.  Give guests a great first experience and the opportunity to see them return increases greatly.  Beyond that, here are some more ways to follow up with guests.  Send them a handwritten card.  In the days of everything electronic, a handwritten note stands out.  Send them a coupon they can turn in for a free gift like a t-shirt on their next visit.  Call and thank them for coming.  Start a new, exciting, relevant teaching series the next weekend that you can invite them to come back for (this applies for their parents in the adult service too).

These keys can help you have a great weekend with lots of guests and a high attendance.  This in turn can propel you forward to a great fall ministry season full of growth, new families and people reached for Christ.

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  What are some other keys to having a great back-to-school Sunday?  What have you seen work in the past?  What are some fresh ideas you're trying?  Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.