Launching your Fall Ministry Season with Momentum

Launching your Fall Ministry Season with Momentum

Aaron Buer

Digital giving apps and tools

Is it just me or are things a little crazy right now? As I walk the halls of our church offices I sense a palpable excitement mixed with a twinge of fear.

Fall launch is coming!

It’s going to be so awesome!

I need more volunteers!

When it comes to the launch of the fall ministry season, I always have this sense like, “If this goes well, this could be the best thing ever!” Maybe you feel the same.

There’s just so much potential in this season because people who have been absent come back, new families show up and people generally sense that it’s time to get back to the things that bring order and meaning to their lives: school, football and of course... church.

So, how do we, as church leaders harness this potential? I have a few ideas...

Teach to Connect

Every church has a different strategy when it comes to preaching, for us, particularly in the fall it comes down to connecting people to the Bible in such a way that it comes alive in their own lives. How do we do this? By connecting people to the story. I believe that we are designed to resonate with story.

When it comes to our fall launch, we often choose a particular character in the Bible for our series and capitalize on the narrative arc of the character’s story. We want people to think, “I need to come back next week because I have to know what happens next.”

Secondly, we attempt to teach in such a way that people can’t help but say things like:

“Me too!”
“That’s exactly what I’m going through”
“My brother-in-law needs to hear this!”

Each fall, we build teaching series around Biblical characters in such a way that the individual sermons hit what our people are going through and experiencing. For example, here are our last few fall series:

  • Joy Under Pressure | Philippians
  • Rebuilding a Life | Nehemiah
  • Faithfulness | The Life of Samuel

In these three series we focus on Paul, Nehemiah and Samuel in a way that our people can really connect with who these characters were and what they went through. Here's the teachings from our "Rebuilding a Life" series if you find it helpful:

Click to Watch Video

This relational connection drives engagement both in terms of attention and attendance. And again, as we teach through these series, we attempt to speak directly to what our people are experiencing. We want people to feel connected to the characters both because of what the characters experienced and also because of what they are experiencing right now.

For example, the fall is a time of tremendous pressure — back to school, job performance, financial crunch, sports, etc.

So, you’ve probably already selected your fall teaching series but as you prepare individual sermons or teachings, perhaps there is space to connect a little more with individual characters and focus application around what your people are experiencing right now.

The feedback we are looking for is:

“I’m understanding the Bible like never before.”
“This is so practical!”

In my experience, when people feel like they are connecting to the Bible and the Bible is connecting with them, it drives engagement.

Synergy Around a Theme

Another way to harness the potential of the fall is to build synergy around a church-wide theme.

When everyone, young and old, new and veteran can describe what is happening in your church right now in a phrase, you’re building momentum and harnessing potential. This can be accomplished through the preaching series, a project, partnership or just about anything.

A recent example of this for us what a Fall series we did called, “The New Testament Challenge.” In this series, we challenged everyone, from young kids to adults to read the New Testament. The amount of reading varied for each age group but the focus of the reading was global. This focus created a tremendous amount of synergy in our church. Everyone was running in the same direction. We had a common language and common experience. It was powerful.

Here's how we introduced this, if you find it helpful:

Click to Watch Video

Another example of this is a partnership with a medical missions organization called Cure International. Our entire church focused around this partnership. Each age group was focused on a different aspect and we were all running in the same direction. It was synergy.

If you want to harness the potential of the fall launch, look for ways to synergize the entire church around a central theme.

Key Next Steps

A third way to harness the momentum of the fall is to offer key next steps for people.

Again, for whatever reason, fall seems to be a time when people naturally reengage and settle into important practices in their lives. It’s kind of like New Year’s resolutions without all the fanfare and with a lot more follow through. We use this time to encourage and challenge our people to take strategic next steps in their faith.

Here’s something I’ve learned about this: Instead of offering a bunch of different next step options, narrow it down to what really matters in your church during the fall season.

For us, it’s small groups. There will be other times that we focus around giving, serving, baptism and other next steps but in the fall, it is small groups. That is the key next step during our fall launch because it drives greater engagement. Joining a small group helps lock people into the community.

And again, creating a bit of synergy here helps. Our small group launch coincides with our fall sermon series. Boom. Synergy.

So, an important question to ask, if you’re interested in harnessing the potential of the fall season is, “What is the next step that really matters right now?” Then, narrow your focus around this next step and do everything you can to drive engagement with this next step.

Wrap Up

The fall ministry launch is such an exciting time. And, it’s a season loaded with potential. There are a lot of ways to capture this potential but in our ministry environment it comes down to teaching to connect, creating synergy around a theme and key next steps.

If you are looking for ways to harness the potential this fall, I would recommend choosing one of these ideas and running with it.

We’d also love to hear about strategies that have worked in your church. Leave us a comment below.

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