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Fall Festival = Family Time

It’s all come down to this. Months and months of planning, organizing, recruiting volunteers, and promoting it should all come to fruition on Friday Night at 7pm. I’ve done so many “Halloween Alternatives” over the years that they’ve all begun to blend together in my memory…While I could write many reasons NOT to do an event that every other church in town does… on the same night… at the exact same time, I cannot say that it’s not a great time. When 1,000+ people show up to play, it’s usually always a good time.
But the challenge is in how to make a event like this effective. I’m not preaching the gospel, I’m not passing out anti-Halloween pamphlets, I’m not leading a worship service, and I’m not asking all the vampires, Frankensteins, and zombies to leave the premises upon arrival. What I am doing is striving to create an atmosphere where families can come and spend time together.

But here’s the kicker; how to do this when you need over 100 volunteers and traditionally most the volunteers are parents? It’s easy and hard, but I’ve eliminated the recruitment of any workers that have children under the age of 12. I don’t want any parents working in any area! We’re forcing family time, even if it makes us double-up in other areas. It is now two days out from the event and I think we might have pulled it off. I’ve recruited Senior High and Junior High student leaders, college students, empty-nesters, and young marrieds to fill each and every spot needed. Not easy in any way, but it can be done!

In the years to come we can continue to argue the merits of such events, but for this year I’m hoping I can honestly walk away and say that we’ve created a TRUE Family Friendly event; even if it kills us!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.

1 Comment

  1. Kenny · October 30, 2008

    That’s a tough thing. I used to do the Fall Festivals when I was in IN. It was a HUGE event. We had to recruit 600-700 volunteers. Unfortunately, that included lots of parents. It was a 3 hour event and we divided it into two 2 hours shifts. On most occasions, we’d have one parents volunteer for one shift. The other parent would then take the kids around and when that shift was over, both parents were free to have family time. Not ideal, but what we had to do in some cases.