O.K. – this may sound silly, but it worked. Here was my dilemma. I would meet kids out and about in public, strike up a conversation, and want to invite them to church. Being a man – I had to use caution in talking to children – especially if their parents weren’t present. These conversations happen naturally all the time, at the mall, in a toy store, at the movies, in line at fast food stores. I don’t seek them out, they just happen. Kids talk to ME! But how do naturally and safely invite them to church in a way that is both, wise and practical?
If I give them a business card, we both know where that is going to end up. IF it even lasts long enough to FIND a trash can. Most likely it will go through the washing machine!
If I give them a website URL it will be lost to short term memory. And then I have to add, “ask your parents first,” which sounds lame, like the website is bad or something.
So in my previous ministry I came up with a simple solution. I had thousands of 16 square slide puzzles made up with our church logo on them. Nothing two fancy, but it had a simple message, (our children’s ministry motto) “because Jesus loves children” – as a simple message to parents actually so they know WHY I was talking to their child (I’m not a creep!) as well as to communicate the passion of our kids ministry, and it contained the URL of our kids ministry.
After a friendly conversation with a kid, I would say, “Hey, here’s something you might enjoy playing with. If you can solve the puzzle, it has my church’s website on the logo, you might want to check out some of the videos (perhaps I had strategically talked about toyboxtales.com or me on CBS news as a Jedi or beating Emily Fox at Speed Stacks or my massive Lego Start Destroyer something else as a hook they’d want to go see that used to be on my kids church site) that would get them to actually visit the site.
Here is what it looked like:
This, of course, is just one idea. How YOU answer the question may be different. But I DO believe you need to answer the question. How do you ‘hook’ the kids you meet out in the hiways and biways of life so that you can get them into your ministry? You need some kind of follow up tool or piece that you can give that is a “ticket” or “bridge” to potential follow up ministry.
I had families show up at my church sometimes years later and when asked, “How did you find our church?” The parent’s answer was, “Someone gave my child a slide puzzle.” I loved smiling and saying, “That someone was me,” and shaking their hand.