Avoid the Scariest Part of Trunk or Treat: 5 Steps to Building Relationships with Attendees
Trunk or Treat. It’s the one night a year where scores, possibly hundreds of kids are going to show up in your church’s parking lot costumed as everything from spiders to clowns to fierce comic book villains. The scariest part about the night isn’t the costumes; it’s the possibility that you could miss out on the chance to use Trunk or Treat (or any other fall outreach) to build relationships and reach these kids with the gospel.
Don’t be frightened though. You’ve already purchased an address list of all the families with kids within walking distance of your church, and reached out to invite them. You’ve collected candy and decorated. You’re ready. With just a few more steps, you can encourage the kids who attend (and their families) to come again, help them know you love them, and share the Good News.
1. Take off the Mask: Collect your Attendees’ Information
By the very nature of Trunk or Treat, there will be kids present whose identity will be concealed. For safety purposes alone, it would be a good idea to have a check-in table where you collect (at minimum) the kids’ names, the name of the parent who brought them as well as an address and phone number. Adding a giveaway to your check-in table (even something as simple as a basket of glowsticks and gospel-themed activity books) can help encourage people to register. Beyond keeping the kids safe, you’ll be able to use this information after the event. You can find several ideas below for how to do that.
2. Create Groups in your Church Management Software
You can add your Trunk or Treat attendees’ information to your church management software. Within Servant Keeper, you can easily create a group called Trunk or Treat and pull this group for future communications. In addition, you’ll be able to look back and see how effective your outreach was in bringing in new regular attendees to your services and other ministries.
3. Ask them to Come Again
By the time Trunk or Treat is over people from your community have made their way (likely on foot) to your church, met members of your church body and likely your pastor. They now know where you are, and who you are. You have planted seeds for starting a relationship. Foster that by asking them to come again to future events. With the names and (email) addresses you collected, you now have everything you need to invite these kids out to your next youth bash, Happy Birthday Jesus party, or even your Christmas eve service. Nothing says “we were happy to have you” like an invite to come again.
4. Pray Specifically
You’ll see children the night of Trunk or Treat who have never set foot in your building or possibly any other church before. Think about the possibility of being able to intercede on behalf of lost kids and families in your community by name. By quickly pulling the list of attendees from within your church management software, you can email this to prayer groups within your church or to other churches you network with. Remind the children in your church to pray for these kids by name and seek to show them love if they see them at school. Pull this list the following year, or before your summer VBS to pray that the Lord would send them to you again with an open heart to His word.
5. Demonstrate your Love for them in the Future
Make sure the kids who attended your Trunk or Treat event know they are loved and that you are accessible to them. Reach out again in the short term future to let them know there is a nearby church that cares about them. For example, by collecting even just their birth month, you could send out a simple birthday card (maybe even include a $1-$5 voucher for ice cream at a local restaurant inside) letting them know that you are still praying for them and would love to see them again. If you don’t collect their birthday information, send them a Christmas card. On a tight budget? Narrow down your send list to include only the kids who attended Trunk or Treat and you have never met previously. With Servant Keeper, after pulling the list, you can quickly print addressed envelopes and file them all in a folder for volunteers to mail out at the appropriate time.
Ask yourself what the goal is of your fall outreach events. Part of the goal is for the neighborhood to have a good time. But the overarching purpose is to build relationships, become a church home to those in your community, and lead people to the Lord. Keep doing what makes your Trunk or Treat successful. Then take it another step by following up to further glorify Him.
Discover more ways you can use the church management software to reach your community. Get a 30-day church management software demo here.