Since the genesis of VOUS Church, serving our community has been woven into our culture and identity. 1 John 3:18 says “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” Serving others is love in action. We want to be known for what we are for, and there are always opportunities to give our time, talents, and treasure. God has blessed us and it truly is our honor and privilege to give back.
I Love My City falls under the umbrella of our Care Department. We plan monthly I Love My City outreach events because we believe that as we serve our city, God will change it. Every April, we put on one of our favorite events of the year — the Easter Egg Drop. Thousands of children and families come out for food, activities, and the crowd favorite: a helicopter egg drop with eggs stuffed with goodies and prizes! (If you are imagining a mad dash of kids running as eggs are falling from the sky, you’ve got the right idea.) The Easter Egg Drop happens annually on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. This is a great opportunity to invite families in our community to Easter Services.
The Easter Egg Drop is one of the larger outreach events that we host. Whether you are planning an extravagant outreach event or putting together something simple, we’ve found that these three components help us to best love and serve our community.
Determine the Direction
Have you ever tried to go to a new place with no clear direction on how to get there? It’s a challenge to reach your destination when you don’t quite know where you’re going. The same is true for planning I Love My City events. Before we can take any steps toward our goal, we have to determine what we want the event to accomplish.
The first thing we do is decide what we want guests to experience. For the Easter Egg Drop, we wanted to connect with our local community, share the message of Jesus with our city, and create a space for families to have fun together. Having this vision in mind helps determine what teams need to be built, which vendors to call, and what resources we need. In addition to the egg drop, we brought in food trucks and concessions, had field and carnival activities, and provided arts and crafts for the kids.
Because this event is open to anyone in our community, we also took steps to make sure that children of all abilities could have a fun experience. We curated a unique VOUS Buddies space for children with special needs. They had their own egg hunt, sensory activities, and pre-filled bags with Easter candy and treats.
Coordinate the Logistics
Once you establish the direction you want your event to go, the next step is to figure out how all of the pieces fit together to make it happen. One of the main focuses of the Easter Egg Drop was the kids’ safety. We gave every child a lanyard with their name and parent information in case they were separated from their family. Because we wanted the event to be a seamless experience for families, we also considered how registration would work and the most efficient way to check families in when they arrived. In order to facilitate this process, we created playbooks so our servant leader teams were equipped and able to succeed in their roles.
This is a good place to add the importance of building your bench. We could not execute an event like this without our amazing servant leaders. We had teams to help every step of the way. Whether they were navigating families into the parking lot, running the activities, or assisting with the egg drop experience, we could not do it without our servant leaders.
Collaborate with Partners & Sponsors
In addition to our servant leaders, our outreach partners and sponsors are vital to the execution of any outreach event. Working with our partners is special because not only does it allow us to provide a completely free and well-rounded experience for families in our community, we get to build relationships with and support local organizations. At VOUS, we never want to be the hero — we want to do something as a community. For the egg drop, we collaborated with existing partners and got to form relationships with new businesses. Vendors supplied so many things to help make the event a success, from food trucks and concessions to audio equipment and inflatables. Partnering with organizations in our community lets us go further than we ever could alone. We could not do it without them.
While we plan and prepare as much as possible, the heart behind any outreach event is for people to experience the love of Jesus. Two of our VOUS values are that Jesus is our message and people are our heart. Serving our community is one of the ways we put these values into action. The logistics and operations of an event are important — there is nothing wrong with working to make sure the event runs as smoothly as possible. But we cannot be so focused on execution that we miss the ministry moments. Whether it’s listening to someone’s story or inviting a family to attend church on Sunday, the ministry moments are the whole point of serving our community! If the event goes on without a hitch but no connections were made with the people who attended, then we missed the mark. God invites us to partner with Him in ministry moments, and we never know how God will use a moment in someone’s story.