Last night we had our first-ever official Walls Down party!
The goal for this party was to meet with some friends, get to know one another better, share the Walls Down vision, and ask our friends to connect us to their friends so that together we can help people discover the life Jesus promised.
We wanted to have between 20-25 people for our first party. We had a total of 26 people (counting the nine from our two families) say “Yes, we’ll be there.” After several last minute cancellations, and a couple of no-shows, we wrapped up the evening with 18 people (11 adults and 7 children).
More about that in a minute…
We did a couple of things that we’ll do again:
- We had great food… and lots of it!
- We gave away a $25 Wal-Mart gift card to the person with the most siblings.
- We didn’t schedule a ton of activity for the evening. It was mainly intended to give us and our friends time to just hang out and talk.
Looking back on the night, I have a few thoughts:
- Initially I was disappointed that more people did not show up, but God checked me on that as it occurred to me that the people who did show up were exactly the people we needed to love on the most! We made some new friends and were able to send everyone home with food… lots of it!
- We sat down at the end of the evening and did an “After Action Review” in which we outlined the “sustains” (things we’ll do again) and the “improves” (things we’ll change). I like this evaluative tool.
- I was pleased with our team (Sherri, Rindy, Matt, and Dan). We all worked hard to pull off this evening. From the planning stages, to the reminder phone calls, to the food preparation, to the follow-up-process we’ll be working over the next few weeks as we prepare for our second party, I feel good about what we did.
- We asked every person in attendance to connect us with seven of their friends by September 6th. We asked for two things: 1) your friend’s contact information; 2) their permission for us to follow up with them. Once we have contact info and consent to contact, we are going to contact every person we are given access to! As we reviewed the evening, we agreed that we could have made “the ask” a bit clearer. We got a little fuzzy towards the end and weren’t as clear as what we hoped to be. We’ll do better next time.
- We are going to do this again on September 20th. Our intention will be the same: to invite our friends and their friends to get to know one another better; to share the vision of Walls Down Church; AND to invite them to help their friends and family discover the life Jesus promised… a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10).
So there it is… we’re off and running!
One more thought…
When we pulled in there was only one car in the parking lot… Rindy’s car. I was mortified! We had two grills running with over thirty burgers, 3 dozen ears of corn, tons of pop, chips, fruit plates, vegetable plates, yada, yada, yada and only Rindy’s and our family! You can’t imagine how grateful I was when I saw a little red car with four of our friends pull up!
Can any of you church planters identify with me on this one?
5 thoughts on “Walls Down – launch party #1”
Paul, the positive in this is the fact that you actually had contact with enough new people to make your RSVP list at 26. Had you not planned this event you wouldn’t have met those new people. So while you may not have had the crowd you anticipated, at the end of the day you still accomplished a goal of meeting and connecting with new unchurched people. Your drive and vision to reach the lost is an inspiration.
I think that 26 is great! My wife and I started a church 2 years ago. We had 20 show up to our first event. From that 8 decided to start the church with us. Instead of launching with 300 like everyone else in the world seems to, our church launched with 47. We have steadily grown and are currently.
I think that 26 is right on track for most church starts. You will get more at your next one. And you seem to be much more organized than every other church plant I’ve ever seen. I think that you guys will launch large from what I’ve seen. Your friends and family are key in my experience, because they are the most likely to put their money where there mouth is. The greatest thing I got from our first party was the people that were excited and would eventually give us enough financial support to breathe a bit. Keep it up, I am praying for you and I will keep up with your blog to pray for your success!
You mean that you don’t think Rindy’s guys could have handled 30 burgers?
I’m glad your party was a success and that you guys are getting geared up to launch Walls-Down. The party was a great idea.
Did you give out prayer bricks? A “Prayer Brick” is a pile of bricks that you have collected (used are better, from a torn down building in the Cincinatti area) that people take with them from your meetings. They set them on their desks at work so that people say “what’s that brick about?” “It’s about this great new family that I have been adopted into called Walls Down Church!”
OR they set them on their window sill in the kitchen and pray for the ministry every day as they see it on their way to get water for the coffee pot
OR they use the brick as an invitation to come to the next party/service/event “Will you come? Yes? Here’s your brick! Please bring it with you and you will meet some other people and hear a story about what this brick means to us…. And eat a lot of burgers.” 🙂
Just an idea Paul, hope it helps!
26 –> 52 –> 104 –> 208 etc if each one reaches one!
i’m glad to hear that things went well for you with party #1…God is good!