Kick off fall programming for Sunday school and small groups + a FREE flyer to use
As a new church-education season approaches, it’s time to consider effective ways to launch new classes and studies for people of all ages. With summer winding down and back-to-school season in full swing, schedules are shifting toward autumn. Every September, church pews fill up with more people, and the education wing bursts with energy. So, use the back-to-church momentum to build excitement about the Christian-learning opportunities your church offers.
Many congregations hold a Rally Day event each fall to welcome new students and begin (or resume) classes. But the new semester also is a great time to promote and kick off new adult programming.
Think ahead about how to publicize — and maximize attendance at — all your church’s Bible studies and small groups. Well before the back-to-church event, share news of the festivities and opportunities. Include complete lineups of classes in church bulletins and newsletters. Display teasers on PowerPoint slides before and after worship services. And be sure to download and customize the free flyer (below) for use throughout your congregation and community.
Read on for great ideas about conducting a powerful fall launch!
8 great ideas to kick off the fall semester in style
The tone of your kickoff festivities goes a long way toward building anticipation. You can generate buzz about your church and its Christian education programs in many different ways, from simple to more involved.
No matter which of these ideas you implement, see if some volunteers are available to assist. A fall-semester kickoff team can help with publicity, event details, and welcoming attendees.
1. Host a Rally Day or rededication service.
Many churches schedule a fall church kickoff event for the Sunday after Labor Day, coinciding with local back-to-school schedules. During worship on that special day, your church can recognize, install and pray for all Sunday school and Bible class teachers. In announcement times, the pastor or Christian education director can highlight new studies and invite people to join home groups too.
2. Celebration Promotion Sunday.
In conjunction with a Rally Day event, your Sunday school program might mark Promotion Sunday. This special occasion recognizes that children are moving up to the next grade or classroom — or to the next ministry level. For example, kids may “graduate” from preschool to elementary children’s ministry, from elementary to middle school (or junior high) ministry, and then from junior high to senior high youth group.
3. Encourage connections.
As part of your church’s fall education launch, consider hosting a congregational breakfast or brunch. Or offer an expanded fellowship hour, with high-visibility signs, brochures and displays about options for learning God’s Word. If possible, provide a display of snacks beyond the usual Sunday spread.
4. Meet and eat.
Some congregations combine Rally Day with an all-church picnic, held either indoors or outside. Whether catered or potluck, a meal is an extra incentive for people to return to church and reconnect with friends. A dinner of free pizza, maybe with a tailgate or homecoming theme for fall, is sure to be a hit, especially with youth and young adults.
5. Host a ministry fair.
A ministry fair is a fun, convenient way to convey lots of information to lots of people at once. Set up tables or booths — one per classroom, Bible study or group — in your church’s fellowship hall, gym or multipurpose area. Invite members and visitors to peruse the offerings, register, ask questions or sign up to indicate potential interest. You might want to combine this with a volunteer fair, a community parade or a denominational gathering. Encourage each ministry within the church to appoint a contact person for interacting with attendees.
6. Include everyone!
No matter the type of kickoff event, make sure all age groups are represented, from nursery and preschoolers to senior adults. “Rally Day” typically brings to mind younger Sunday school children, but fun kickoff events also are ideal for welcoming back adults and older people (or Prime Timers, or Sonshiners, or whatever your church calls the over-55 group). Pro Tip: If you offer live-streamed or virtual classes, remember to inform homebound people, snowbirds, college students and anyone else who might benefit via distance learning.
7. Set up a buddy system.
If your congregation or children’s ministry is large, you might want to plan a way to assimilate newcomers and make them feel welcome. For example, older elementary students can pair up with kindergartners, and senior high schoolers can serve as buddies for incoming junior high schoolers. With any mentoring program, follow safety protocols and provide plenty of adult supervision.
8. Share small-group schedules.
For the fall programming launch, your small groups may be ready to roll. Or you might need to first gauge people’s availability before setting the schedules. Either way, provide plenty of day-and-time options plus a wide variety of interesting topics. Some groups may focus on a Bible book or character, while others address Christian-living subjects or are geared toward specific ages and stages. Singles and young adults, parents, widows and widowers, and people facing certain challenges appreciate groups that target their situations and meet their needs.
Back-to-church events are a fantastic, effective method of kicking off your new education year in style. Use these ideas to welcome people to your church — and to increase the likelihood that they’ll get (and stay) involved all year long.
Download this FREE Fall Kick-Off Church Flyer
Enjoy this free printable church Fall Kick-Off Flyer for your church event, Sunday school kick-off or Small Group Event.
It’s available in Word (.docx) and Publisher (.pub) formats. After adding your own unique information, print the design on both sides of 8.5″ x 11″ paper or save it as a PDF for virtual sharing on Social Media.
If you need more templates just like this one, we’d like to invite you to try a ChurchArt.com 14-day free trial to see if ChurchArt fits your ministry needs.
We welcome your fall kickoff ideas too! Please share tips with your colleagues using the comments section below.
-Written by Stephanie Martin, the Senior Editor of The Newsletter Newsletter.
We love art, are passionate about helping churches create professional-looking communications and are a fun bunch of folks. With an in-tune creative director and a rock-solid team of artists, we will provide the art you’ll want to use, plus templates, puzzles and extras that make your job easier.