Elevation Church, Charlotte, N.C.
This Easter, how can your church draw families and host what Elevation Church Connections Pastor Larry Brey calls an “Are you kidding me?” event—something that makes people stop and take notice?
In Easter 2006, Elevation was just a few months old, with little more than 150 in attendance, when it hosted its first helicopter egg drop. The church literally emptied its bank account to put on the event.
“We didn’t expect to see people at Easter services just because we had an egg drop, and we didn’t use it as a platform to preach,” Brey says. “We wanted this event to be a gesture of goodwill to the community—to get our name out there and let people know we’re around for the long haul. And that’s exactly what happened.”
How to Do It:
—Lease or use a location that can accommodate more people than you anticipate. Elevation expected 1,000 people, but far more than 2,000 attended the event.
—Plan ahead and consult the experts. Helicopters and hot-air balloons are often sensitive to climate conditions and require specific permits. Check the weather, and make sure the company you work with obtains the proper permits.
—Give away prizes of varying values. Elevation bought toys and high-end prizes, including a flat-screen television. “People came because of the prizes,” Brey says.
—Aggressively promote your event to the community. Elevation advertised on a Top-40 radio station, which also broadcasted live on-site.
—Host registration stations to gather names and distribute related information. Give each child a color-coded wristband based on his or her age and a bag to fill. Give parents a card listing the egg-drop rules and activities.
—Buy pre-filled plastic eggs, or fill them yourself with candy, trinkets and tickets redeemable for prizes. Elevation bought 50,000 eggs—30,000 dropped from the helicopter and 20,000 hidden on the ground.
—Divide the drop field into age-group sections and place some eggs on the ground beforehand. You’ll want to guarantee a certain number of prizes in each age range. Host a booth where children can redeem coins or tickets for prizes.
—Host ancillary activities—live entertainment, face painting, games and inflatables. If you opt for a hot-air balloon, offer tethered rides.
—At each exit, give guests a worship CD or other gift and a postcard for services and ministries.
Helicopter or balloon rental will run about $500 to $1,500, depending on access and the crew for hire. Since site leases, prizes and promotion costs can vary, know your budget and spend it wisely to leverage the most impact for your guests.
More than 2,000 guests attended Elevation’s 2006 egg drop. Elevation passed along church information to these guests, and reached even more through the live radio broadcast and nationally televised news story.
“People who came to the egg drop had an overwhelming Easter experience,” Brey says, “but the real benefit comes in name recognition. Several Sundays later, after reinforcement through invitations and other touch points, egg-drop guests began showing up in church. This event started a culture of generosity at Elevation—and one we strive to keep, as we continue to bless our community with similar activities and events.”
These ideas first appeared in Outreach magazine, January/February 2009. Post a comment below to share what your church is doing. Each issue of Outreach is designed to bring you the ideas, innovations and resources that will help you reach your community and change the world. Click here to subscribe.