8 Lessons on Creating an Even BIGGER Day 4 Weeks After Easter!
Today’s Guest Blogger is my friend Roscoe Lilly. Roscoe is the lead pastor at NorthStar Church in Albany, NY. I love talking with leaders reaching people in tough communities and as you will read in this post Albany has been acknowledges as possibly the toughest place in the country to reach people to Jesus. Roscoe is a sharp leader … you should get to know him!
Earlier this year, George Barna released research that identified our community as the #1 Post Christian City in America. Although the study was disturbing, it served as a blow torch to our value of evangelism. We led our church in a month of “Taking a Knee Every Three” to pray every 3 hours for people we wanted to come to know Christ at Easter. We knew Easter would be big! We were prayed up and had worked hard.
It was in fact a big day, and we didn’t want it to be all downhill after Easter. We wanted people to come back! Here is what we did to keep the momentum going, and some lessons we learned along the way.
Big What’s Next: God had created a providential relationship with our church and Stephen Baldwin, and Stephen had agreed to come and help us reach more people in our community by sharing his story. We leveraged our largest platform of the year to draw people back, as well as to pique the curiosity of the unchurched in our area through his recent appearance on Celebrity Apprentice Allstars. We announced Stephen Baldwin on Easter, and timed his arrival for 4 weeks later. His story proved to be an even bigger Sunday than our Easter Services, and allowed us to increase our attendance 220% over an average Sunday.
Tickets. We had never done a service like this and had no idea how many people to expect. We knew the quickest way to ruin the special opportunity to reach people who wouldn’t normally come to church would be to turn them away at the door because we didn’t have room. Tickets allowed us to know which service was full and to recommend the alternate service time. Rather than “hoping for the best,” we always want to follow the path of wisdom and be prepared. As the event neared and we still had room, we changed our message to “Tickets still available,” and lastly, “Tickets available at the door.” Another great benefit to tickets was they could be a “Connection Card” before the Connection Card. Eventbrite made the ticketing process easy to set-up and manage. It is free for free events and even has a free app to scan tickets. [Click here to see our event tickets.]
Prepping your Leaders: We prepared a FAQ sheet that we sent to our key leaders and small group leaders to help keep everyone focused on the purpose. When you do something new and different there will always be resistance and questions. You can keep a lot of questions from turning into criticism by being proactive. It demonstrates to others you are operating purposefully and strategically. [Click here to check it out.]
Press Friendly. We created a page on our website just for the press to make it as easy as possible for them to get the information they need quickly. We modeled ours after Liquid Church’s. [A Media Page from Liquid] [Northstar Media Page]
Bloggers & Facebook. We reached out to 3 of the biggest bloggers in our community and asked if they would help get the word out. They were a huge help. We also encouraged everyone in our church to change their FB Cover Photo to one with info about the day.
Get a Contract. If your next Big Day involves a high-profile speaker, we highly recommend one if you:
Want to be able to post the service on-line
Want to use their likeness in promotion
Don’t want a talent agency or speaker’s bureau coming after you for a fee you knew nothing about.
Prepare for Massive Follow Up. It’s one thing to follow up with 10 new families a week, it’s a different story to follow up with 100! We hadn’t thought through this part adequately and (thankfully) spent most of Monday and Tuesday following up with first-time guests. Can your systems handle a massive influx? Have your emails ready to send, being sure to invite them to “What’s Next.” We also held a drawing for signed copies of Stephen Baldwin’s book in order to get more Connection Cards.
Discipleship. Ensure that you have plenty of New Believer Packets, Decision Counselors, and New Believer’s Classes in place to handle the harvest you are praying for.
The Next Big What’s Next: On Stephen Baldwin Day, we announced that on Mother’s Day (2 weeks later) we will be taking FREE family portraits!