Happy July 5! Hope you and your family had a great 4th of July. It is certainly one of my favorite days of the year. My patriotism and love for America runs deep. Yesterday started with Barbeque lunch, homemade Butterfinger Ice Cream, a trip to the movies to see The Amazing Spider Man
and ended with a trip to the Franklin (Tennessee) Fireworks display.
The Franklin Lions Club helps sponsor the Franklin on the Fourth activities, which ends with the annual fireworks display. This was my first trip to Franklin’s fireworks and I want to compliment the Lion’s Club and the city for their patriotic spirit. As I was driving home, I began to think how did the Lion’s Club benefit from the investment of time, energy, and cost of sponsoring the Franklin on the Fourth Extravagance.
Think about the events that your church provides and conducts throughout the year. Hopefully, every church will offer Vacation Bible School this summer. Many children will come to know Christ and lots of prospective families will be discovered. My former church in Clarksville annually has a Living Christmas Tree at Christmas and a major Easter Production. Many churches provide other major events such as wild game dinners and Faith Rides. In Tennessee, most of our smaller churches will still have homecoming or declaration events each year.
Whatever event that your church provides, how does your Sunday School benefit? Have you taken the steps necessary to provide a positive experience for everyone involved? Do you have a follow-up plan after the event?
Let’s reflect on last’s night fireworks experience. First, I appreciate the Lion’s Club for sponsoring community events and hope that they will gain some new Lions as a result. Since they have no clue who attended, they certainly have no way of following up on the thousands of Williamson County residents that participated. Admittedly, this would have been impossible last night, but if you want to capitalize on big events, every person needs to be registered.
Second, the event itself needs to have a wow factor and a reason for gathering. The reason for gathering was clear last night. We were celebrating our country’s birth, but how do you promote the events that your church conducts. Last night the children were easily wowed, but personally the fireworks show was mediocre (one really impressive moment) compared to the show that my Sunday School class normally puts on at our usual 4th of July fellowship (Canceled due to a fireworks ban this year). On second thought, maybe it just the relationship and fellowship that makes the Sunday School fellowship shout “wow”.
Lastly, I tweeted …enjoyed the fireworks, but it certainly wasn’t worth the hassle. The fireworks lasted 20 minutes, but it took almost 2 hours to get out of the parking lot. I remember an Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by our church, where one of my daughters came back crying because she had failed to win the battle for the eggs. If you are going to capitalize on big events, you need to do your best to overcome all the logistical issues.
My prayer is that your church will capitalize on Big Events and your Sunday School will benefit from the investment of time, energy, and cost of sponsoring your extravagances.
Dr. Mark Miller is the Sunday School Specialist & Disciple-making Team Leader with the Tennessee Baptist Convention