Back to Church Open House
National Back to Church Sunday is September 18.
As your community heads back to school and back to work—invite them to also return to church. Register your church for Back to Church Sunday to gain access to tons of tools and a kit that will help you plan.
As part of your Back to Church Sunday campaign, invite your neighbors over for a church Open House. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet new faces and connect them with ministries and resources. An Open House will equip churchgoers with an invite-able event, and encourages them to actively participate in the life of the church.
Here are a few key concepts to think on when planning your Open House…
Prepping: Time for a Makeover
Put on your visitor goggles and take a good hard look at your church. Tidy up for church visitors, just like you would for houseguests. Assess the cosmetic, functional and hospitality components that might make your church seem unwelcoming. The goal is to treat each guest like a VIP.
• Grounds: Is your landscaping weed-free, neat, clean and attractive?
• Parking: Are handicap and visitor spots available at the front of your church? Would parking attendants be helpful?
• Accessibility: Is your church accessible for the handicapped? Are appropriate accommodations available to people once inside? Consider elements such as seating, restrooms and ramps.
• Signage: If you didn’t know where the main sanctuary, restrooms and childcare were, would they be easy to find without assistance?
• Comfort: Is it comfortable to enter the building? Is the temperature, odor, lighting and seating comfortable for everyone?
• Eyesores: Are there any outdated or shabby items that should be replaced? Consider flooring, lights, seating, pulpit, wall hangings, A/V systems, or hymnals that should be updated.
• Bathrooms: Are your restrooms clean, fresh, stocked and easy to find?
• Lobby: Is your lobby area welcoming and uncluttered with sufficient greeters? Are all items on your info table neat, stocked and current?
• Culture of Hospitality: Are people naturally friendly and welcoming at your church? How could you enculturate your church to embrace newcomers?
• Children’s Ministry: Does it inspire a feeling of safety and fun for visitors? Is it easy to find?
Planning: Open House Experience
Consider your surrounding community and what might appeal to them during your open house.
• Promotion: Consider a postcard mailer or door hanger invite. Equip churchgoers to invite their neighbors with small invitation cards or flyers. Set up a Facebook event page, and blog or Twitter about the featured activities.
• Check In: As guests enter, give them an event program. Collect contact information in exchange for raffle tickets.
• Exhibit Area: Ask each ministry to set up an info table with upcoming events, ways to connect, small giveaways, and activities (i.e. the children’s ministry could host a bounce house or kids’ zone).
• Food: Provide seating and some light refreshments or a BBQ. Consider adding a fun contest element like a chili cook-off, etc.
• Entertainment: Set up a stage area, and invite various ministries to contribute music, arts, dance or another visual performance.
• Facilities: Provide easy access to restrooms, a diaper changing and private nursing area.
• Tours: Provide guided tours of the church with a brief description of various ministries available.
• Introductions: Invite the pastors to share a bit about each ministry from stage throughout the event.
• Door Prizes: Consider items from the church bookstore, tickets to events, or fun giveaways from each ministry. Raffle tickets could be given away at each booth (as an incentive for visiting booths), or collected at each booth (for prizes specific to that ministry’s demographic).
Has your church hosted an Open House? What was the most popular element?