Community “Love Week”
I was talking with some friends who recently visited Chicago during Pride Month. We thought it would be cool if the church had an annual festival as well-known and unifying as these types of groups and causes. My friends began talking about a well-known church that sponsors an event called “Love Week,” where local churches band together to display an overall presence of love in the city. How great would it be to have a love week festival in the summer where people could receive prayer, counsel and resources, among other things? Participating churches would raise awareness by actively recruiting volunteers and inviting non-church attendees to participate in missional activities in the city.
Here are some ideas to work this out in your community:
- Talk to local churches about the possibility of sponsoring a Love Week (not a church fair) in your community. This could be an ecumenical event with any church/denomination welcome to participate.
- From the beginning, plan for this to be an annual event, and be sure it’s long enough for people to come at times that are convenient with their schedule. A week-long festival is optimal, but plan for at least two or three days with hopes to grow into a week as it gains popularity.
- Pool resources from all involved churches. This will vary locally. Some churches will join with a few other churches, but in our city of Spokane with enough time we could potentially get 50 churches on board.
- Plan a time to gather all the participating churches to plan and pray for those who may attend.
- Create a fun and festive atmosphere. After all, they will know we are Christians by our love!
- The festival is an opportunity to highlight causes already established in local churches. For example, we support a youth shelter while another local church supports an eating disorder rehabilitation facility and yet another supports a refugee resettlement program. Does your church have a program to help foster kids get adopted? Set up a booth during the festival and recruit volunteers to promote the foster program. No need to recreate the wheel, right? Simply use your presence to highlight and provide opportunities to participate in the work your partner churches are already doing in the community.
- Advertise through all social media channels. Have banners made and display them in local churches and in the community. If the budget allows, place ads in the local paper or advertise on local radio or TV channels.
- Be intentional about reaching out to those attending the festival. Gather their contact information and ask if they would like to attend future events. Be sure to follow through and invite them to other non-threatening gatherings your church may be hosting, including church services. Meet one-on-one to strengthen relationships and evangelize with the world outside of church walls.
If local churches invite people to step into mission and love others in their community, maybe they will eventually step into the church.
Jack Dunbar is the associate pastor of Pacific Keep Church in Spokane, Washington. He and his fellow ministry partners at Pacific Keep have a passion for those on outside the Christian community. They hope to start a festival with three non-denominational churches they currently have relationship with in hopes of making this dream a reality in Spokane. Jack’s greatest joys in life include his incredible wife Lindsey, their Dachshund, Phoebe, reading, water-sports, golf and gardening.