In 2019 Jump Start ministries originally began as a ministry solely focused on outreach events, attempting to help connect the church with the community with the gospel in mind. Our experience in the family business of event rentals along with our experience and success in family outreach events was merged to help ministries connect with their community. In our working with ministries we quickly realized a few things. First, that our outreach events are not the right fit for every church and second, that many churches have other needs to address before they know what kind of outreach will be best for their congregation and community. As 2020 rolled around we were shut down by the impact of the pandemic. Through the year we began to wrestle with how we can better help the church connect with their community. During this time I began working with pastors and ministries in other capacities, helping them navigate other pressing challenges. I also began to pursue certifications in church consulting, revitalization, and transitioning. My desire is growing to help pastors, church leaders and ministries in a more holistic way as a church consultant. Beginning in 2021 we are transitioning Jump Start ministries to primarily help the church through consulting and coaching. As we continue to grow in our learning and experience of consulting and coaching we anticipate a greater impact of accomplishing our mission of helping the church make disciples.
Why Outreach Events?
Seasonal community events have been gaining popularity for a few years. It is helpful for us in our outreach efforts to determine the cultural activity and interest of our demographic. What if we worked within the flow of cultural activity and positioned ourselves to share the gospel rather than swimming upstream? The Gospel message is already counter cultural and radical, our outreach strategies don’t need to be.
Take for instance the account of Pentecost. The disciples did not work to create an event that was completely foreign to their culture. In fact, God used a cultural, religious event to reach the masses at Pentecost. Why? This was an event the people already had as a part of their culture. The disciples didn’t have to create some foreign idea to their culture to gather a crowd. They tapped into what the crowd was already interested in and leveraged the situation for the sake of the Gospel. While Pentecost festival is not what our communities are looking for today, we can observe their behavior, interest, and trends. There is a window in the fall, spring, summer, and just before Christmas that families are open to participating in community events. School schedules, weather trends, commercial marketing, and specific holidays like Easter, Christmas, and Halloween all align to encourage people to engage in these neighborhood festivities. Communities are seeking positive interactions and fun experiences to participate in with their family. Lifeway research studies have shown that people are much more responsive to church invites around the holidays.
For the most part it doesn’t matter who is hosting these community events- schools, churches, towns, or HOA’s- people find them and go. Whoever positions themselves at the right time, with the right event attracts a crowd. Why is this important? Your church hosting community events reminds them that you are a part of the community. You are adding value to their life in a tangible way that they can see, enjoy, and appreciate. When God’s Spirit works in their life where will they go? Most likely they will head to the church they have heard of, visited an event at, or have been invited to. Community events raise awareness about your church and can allow for personal connections that lead to gospel sharing. Community events can also position you to have a captive audience to share the gospel with while they are at the event. Another benefit of a community event is to use the event to point people to a special Sunday. A Spring Fest can be used to point participants to Easter, a Fall Fest can be used to direct families to upcoming children’s ministries or a Friend Day, and a Christmas Fest can be used to lead people to your Christmas services. The opportunities are many and we are here to help. Our desire is to help churches host spectacular outreach events and programs with the gospel in mind!