Many churches host events outdoors to take advantage of the beautiful weather and host events they couldn't manage indoors.
Activities for VBS, outdoor concerts or worship nights, and Fall Trunk-or-Treats are just a few examples.
If you're planning an outdoor event, here are a few things you should consider to make it a fun and safe experience for everyone involved:
#1 Offer shade and cold water
Summer heat can cause people to get overheated quickly. Provide tents and other shaded areas so attendees can escape the sun for a few moments as needed. Either give away or sell bottles of cold water to help people stay hydrated and cool.
#2 Develop an inclement weather plan
Unfortunately, the weather forecast isn't always accurate, and it can change between the time you started planning this event and the actual event day. Plan for rain or other weather issues and how you'll handle the event should the weather turn bad.
If your church has an indoor gym or other large open room, that could be an ideal backup location for this event. Another issue to consider is if a storm occurs after the event has already started outside.
Who will monitor the forecast? Who makes the call to have everyone move indoors? Where will you have people take shelter if there's a dangerous storm approaching?
#3 Provide security
Anytime you get a large crowd together, it's wise to consider the potential security risks and plan accordingly. If your church already has a security team, they need to be part of the planning process for this event.
Determine how many security team members you'll need for the event, including whether you'll hire any off-duty police officers. Also, consider if you want to have an ambulance stationed on church property just in case someone has an emergency. Contact your local first responders to see what they can do.
#4 Give parents additional information
If you're planning activities for kids that may involve getting their clothes dirty, let parents know in advance. They may want to send their children in older outfits and provide a change of clothes as well.
Parents will appreciate knowing this ahead of time, so they aren't unpleasantly surprised when they arrive to pick up their kids.
#5 Consider special event insurance
Contact your church's liability insurance provider to determine if your existing policy covers special events. Some insurance companies may require you to buy a special policy for larger events. It's best to check into this at least a month before the event to make sure you're covered.
Outdoor events can be a great way to bring your church family together and attract people from the community to engage with your congregation. With a bit of careful planning, you can create a safe and fun event.