Our church has been through a lot over the last 2 years. Our lead pastor went home to be with His Savior unexpectedly in Spring 2015. I will never forget sitting in my seat that Sunday as they shared the news, it rocked our church's world. (That Pastor along with our other pastor brought me to the Lord just over 10 years ago.) Our solace that day and in the days to come was God knew, He was there and He would provide direction. So for the next 14 months we went about grieving and then slowly began the search for the pastor God had chosen to lead us next. We found him and his family and they came on board about 14 months later, early this summer. We hosted an ice cream social to welcome them and the same committee that hosted that was charged with the coordination of our all church picnic/pastor installation service scheduled for late September.
So we got about our business with a meeting in August to share ideas, pray and plan the event. I can't speak highly enough of the group who each did their share with their God given talents. It was fun to work with them and see each person bring what they had to the table!
Their work truly exuded this verse --
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col. 3:17 (ESV)
Our theme centered on the lyrics to Great is Thy Faithfulness...it spoke to where we have been, our present and our future.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassion's, they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be
Lyrics by Chisholm
Let's take a look at all the details from start to finish...hopefully you will be inspired for something you are planning!
We went with a "vintage picnic theme" complete with red check table cloths (like these) and our decorating committee went to work creating a few vignettes as well as pictures from across the decades to include on each of the tables. Guests were encouraged to take photos with them!
Centerpieces included mason jars filled with bible verses on sticks that went with our over arching theme about God's great faithfulness to our church -- "Great is Thy Faithfulness".
We host our picnic at a local lake shelter complete with a baseball diamond and large playground area perfect for our large group. It also has 3 large charcoal grills. A community group in our church hosts the grills and the church provides (with an RSVP) the hamburgers and hot dogs.
For about 250 people we set up two buffet lines with lines on both sides. We also ferried the hamburgers and hot dogs from the grills to roasting pans on the buffet lines. We also stocked every other picnic table with condiments in hopes of expediting things -- it seemed to work!
We asked each family to either bring 2 sides to share or one dessert and one side to share, we split our congregation down the middle (it looked like A-S for 2 sides and T-Z for 1 side and 1 dessert). We had plenty of food that way. In addition each family brought their own table service (we had some extra just in case!). We provided lemonade and water and cups as well.
And since we were celebrating "extra" with the installation of our new Pastor we recruited our church elders to serve up root beer floats, they were a hit and required minimal set-up and cost!
After dinner it was time for the installation service with a charge for both our new pastor and the congregation. It was capped off by singing acapella "Great is Thy Faithfulness", it was a beautiful moment.
And then it was on to games and some fun...
First up were a few relay races - the hula hoop relay, burlap sack races, water balloon partner toss and dizzy bat relay races. You can find our inspiration for games here...
A quick fun pastor game with our 3 on staff pastors...a shower cap, some shaving cream and lots of people throwing cheese balls to see which pastor could get the most to stick. It was no surprise our youth director took the win but each of them was a good sport!
The evening was capped off with an impromptu game of kickball - youth group vs. young kids and adults -- I am not sure the final score but it was competitive!
Our goals were to glorify God and thank Him for His faithfulness to our church, allow people to connect with other church family and have a whole lot of fun. Judging from the responses, we met our goals. Until next year, another church picnic is in the books!
What have you found to be successful for church picnics, I would love to hear?
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Labels: Faith, fun