Did you ever take a walk or a drive by your church when it is closed? What could someone learn about all of the great stuff that goes on inside your parish when seeing your closed building after hours?
Chances are, more people stroll past your building—or at least drive by—than you may imagine. As we prepare to move into warmer weather and later sunset times in a couple of months, this is a great time to develop a plan to generate greater interest in your parish at the times you are closed. Here are a few no or low-cost ideas to consider.
1. Take a tip from real estate agents. Place a weatherproof plastic box out in front of your church with a page of basic information.
- Contact information including web and social media contacts.
- Worship times and a calendar with times for other events, from Bible study to music or arts presentations.
Outdoor plastic information boxes can be purchased very inexpensively from “big box” office supply stores, such as Office Depot. Or, building a custom outdoor literature holder may be a nice project for someone in your parish who is handy with tools and materials.
2. Build or strengthen your after-hours sidewalk ministry. A few examples:
- Some parishes have already adopted sidewalk lending library boxes, where passers-by can remove books from a simple wooden box, as well as contribute books.
- A twist on this is a food box, where those who are hungry can remove whatever food they need and persons in your parish or community can contribute food to the box.
- There are a lot of other variations on this idea, too. A baby box could offer diapers or other baby supplies to those who are in need. And, parish or community friends could help stock the box.
- A school box could offer pencils, paper, or other simple school supplies.
Again, creating a box would be a great project for a woodworker in your parish. But, you could also ask your local newspaper to donate an old street side paper box you could repaint and re-purpose. Or, order a simple plastic box from a plastics specialty company such as Uline and customize it to your effort.
What else could you collect after hours in a box by your sidewalk or in your churchyard? Eyeglasses? Boxtops? Anything that could be leveraged for mission?
Whatever you do, be sure to include basic information about your church in anything you offer! And, don’t forget to publicize what you’re doing via local media and social media. I can help you with a list of media contact information for anything you want to publicize in your area.
3. Put up a banner or sign that imparts real information about what your parish does—something beyond your basic worship hours and contact information. Remember that each parish in this diocese is eligible for up to $250 per year from the diocese to use for signage. We can create a banner or sign for you or reimburse you for a banner or sign created by someone in your own community or online. So, figure out what you would like to tell your community about what you’re doing and just get in touch with me anytime to make a request!
Until next month,