by Ted Lowe

At MarriedPeople, we believe there is something special that happens when you get 10-1,000 couples in the same place at the same time. It provides opportunities not only to empower the couples in your church, but also in your community. We get particularly excited about well-executed, one-night events, and that’’s why we provide many of the resources you’’ll need to pull the event together in our Strategy Pack or single Larger Group events.

But this post isn’t to convince you that Larger Group Experiences can have a big impact. While we provide art, video, promo materials, games, etc., for the night, there are some things that you’’ll need to figure out——two things that can have a big effect on your attendance and budget. Those two things are:

  • Childcare
  • Food

So we want to give you some tips on how to decide what might work best for your church and your budget.

CHILDCARE

Childcare is a biggie, because it’’s is a deal breaker for many couples. So you have to address it. Here are some child-care options:

  1. Provide onsite childcare. (This could even be a potential fundraiser for youth group events like mission trips and camp.)
  2. Provide a list of high-school students you would recommend.
  3. Provide childcare reimbursement. This is when the couple finds their own babysitter. The church provides a detailed form (included in the MarriedPeople Strategy Pack). Couples turn in the form and the church mails them a check. This one scares churches leaders to death, but it really does work well because people can use a babysitter they trust. They can also get to ride to and from the event with no kids in the car! While childcare reimbursement seems like it would be crazy expensive, it’’s not because many people don’’t turn in the forms.

FOOD

People often ask us if we think they should provide food at their one-night events. The short answer is “yes.” But we go back and forth over whether they should have dinner and dessert, or just dessert.

Some churches offer dessert, coffee, and water. They open the doors at 7 and the event starts at 7:30. This way couples can go to dinner before the event, and have dessert at the event. Dessert is a lot less expensive and easier to pull off than a full meal.

At the same time, I have had a lot of church leaders say that providing dinner is what makes people show up. One church told me they provided dinner because it kept people from going home after work. The leader said, ““If couples go home after work, many of them don’’t want to get back out.”” This same church also has a local restaurant that provides all the food. It’’s great marketing for the restaurant, and it obviously makes it much less expensive for the church.

The deciding factors are what works best for your budget, volunteers, and community.

So there you have it: Hold their babies while they hold their forks. (Cut a brother a break, I had to do something to land this random but important plane.)

If you are planning a MarriedPeople Larger Group Experience and need help thinking through your event, our Orange Specialist, Nancy Squires is amazing. Feel free to contact her at info@marriedpeople.org. Plus we have a great community of partners who are sharing ideas and learning from another both on this blog and on our Facebook page.

Thank you for doing something more for marriages in your church and community!

 

Ted Lowe is a speaker and the director of MarriedPeople, the marriage division at Orange. Ted is the author of two books—one for marriage ministry leaders (Married People: How Your Church Can Build Marriages That Last) and one for married couples (Your Best US: Marriage Is Easier Than You Think). He served for almost 10 years as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church. He lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with his four favorite people: his wife, Nancie, and their three children.