Tuesday, August 4, 2015
I started speaking at Men's events and Wild game Banquets back in the 1990's and since that time I have had the privilege of speaking at over 850 events all over the country. Here are a few truths I learned during that time.
1) The Best Game Banquets are done on Weeknights not weekends. - The reason for this is simple. Guys who hunt and fish do so on the weekends. Show me a Wild game Banquet that is on the weekend, and I will show you one that is primarily filled with Church goers. An event planned on a week day breaks up the work week for a guy, while still allowing him to talk about hunting and fishing. Choose your times wisely.
2) The Venue makes a difference.- Churches that do their Banquets away from the Church building find they have much better success, because guys who don't know Christ have a thing about walking in a church. Ive heard Church members say: "Well they should want to come to the House of God" Well two things: the building is NOT the house of God. God dwells in people not buildings. (Acts 17:34) Secondly if they wanted to come to your church they would be there. Choose a venue that is non threatening to the non church goer. Give them the chance to hear the good news.
3) "Ambush Evangelism" will hurt your Banquet in the future- Ive heard Jason Cruise who is in my opinion the leading authority on reaching men through hunting and fishing. Talk about this in his blog: http://jasoncruise.com, and I have seen it as well. A speaker will get everyone to bow their head and close their eyes with the promise of not embarrassing anyone. However the moment a hand is raised he will tell them to look up and move to a counseling room or to talk with a counselor. This destroys credibility for future Banquets as an outreach event. I had a seminary professor that said a speaker should spend as much time preparing their invitation as their message. Don't bait and switch. Make sure your speaker knows how to extend an invitation and let God work.
4) Churches that use a response card do a much better job of "Follow up" than those that don't.
Following up on decisions made at a Wild game Banquet or any Evangelistic event is critical. Too many churches put more energy and planning in the physical food than the spiritual food. A response card used at the end of a decision time can give the church the valuable and confidential information they need to help a new convert grow and stick. Sometimes a follow up can help deepen up some commitments that a person may not have fully understood. I suggest using your response card at the end for your door prize card. Just make sure that everyone fills one out, and that decision is kept private.
Wild Game Banquets can be an amazing outreach tool, that will draw people that would not otherwise darken the doors of your Church if they are done with prayer, care and a little thought.