Long light summer evenings and sunny weather are the perfect setting for outreach events. Get together with a couple of friends over a glass of elderflower cordial or pimms and plan a couple of get togethers between now and the school summer holidays.
How about a Cup Cake decorating night? Cheap to run, with only cake mixture and icing as your overheads, you are tapping in to something trendy at the moment. We are trialing a Cup Cake event in two weeks. As a team we will be baking the cupcakes ourselves beforehand, planning on making three for every guest from a basic fairy cake recipe. Then we have asked a friend from another church to come and decorate the icing techniques. Then ‘generation game’ style, we will all have a go with a piping bag. The evening will finish with a brief interview of the ‘expert’, asking her about her experiences in setting up her ‘Yummy Mummy’ business as well as her faith. We will be playing soft music in the background and serving fruit cocktails as people arrive.The price will be £3.50 per head or £6 if you buy two tickets.
A Summer Nights’ Walk is the easiest idea – meet up at a car park location, walk together along any non-hilly route for an hour and finish up somewhere for a simple barbecue, fish and chips or marshmallow toasting session.
If you have a large garden and a blank wall, maybe you can have an Outdoor Film Show Night. Borrow a projector and show the film against a sheet pinned on the wall. Lay out some rugs or bean bags and relax together as you watch.
If the cupcakes sound too ‘girly’ perhaps you could balance it with your next meeting being a GoKarting event. Expense in organising events is always a tricky issue but the power of collective charming bargaining is worth exploring. If you go to a local track and promise a full booking on a night that they are otherwise quiet, you might be surprised at the deal you can arrange. Perhaps you could offer to share karts or drive for a shorter period than normal. Quad biking is another idea that we have had requested, and one girl asked that we go zorbing in baked beans. I promise I will let you know if we ever actually manage that one!
It may be that not all of your regulars will like all of these ideas – don’t be afraid to be a little brave! Go for a different idea once in a while – you may interest someone who would never consider coming to a ‘church-linked’ event. And if some of your regulars choose not to come occasionally then that is okay too.
Don’t forget that summer nights are a great opportunity to be out in your garden or walking in your local streets. Don’t get so busy with church events that you miss the chance to chat to your neighbours over the garden gate. If you met someone for the first time at a Royal Wedding Street party, next week is a good time to build on the friendship with a cup of coffee. Some of the best ‘events’ are a dialogue between two friends, chatting naturally and letting faith and Jesus come into the conversation.