At Indiana Bible College, we have “Chicken Finger Fridays.” Every Friday, the cafeteria serves up piles of steaming hot chicken fingers and French fries for lunch. It is, without question, the favorite meal among students.
This IBC tradition has been going on for years. No one complains. All enjoy it. “Chicken Finger Friday” is as much a part of IBC as student prayer meetings and Paul Mooney chapels.
Research shows that growing churches are strong on traditions. They have LOTS of them. They provide a strong sense of unity and purpose. Like family traditions, church traditions support connection and belonging. They reflect values and priorities. They become a celebration of what truly matters. They also provide an avenue for lasting memories as well as a time of meaningful pause and reflection.
What are the traditions of your church? What makes your church distinctive and sets it apart? Does your church have a distinctive, unique personality? Are there annual events that you promote and hold dear? Here’s a random list of church traditions I have run across during my years of travel:
Pre-service Prayer Emphasis. Midnight Prayer Meetings. Forty Days of Prayer and Fasting. Fifth Sunday Potlucks. Annual Pastoral Anniversary Conference. Pastor’s Birthday Blast. Founder’s Sunday. Watchnight Service. Sunrise Service. Easter Drama. Pentecost Sunday Tent Revival. Spring Cleaning Saturday. Monthly Holy Ghost Sunday. Graduate Sunday. Mother’s and Father’s Day. July 4 Fireworks and Potluck. Annual Oneness Conference. Annual Prophecy Conference. Annual Prayer Revival. Annual Missions Conference. Annual Ladies Revival. Annual Men’s Revival. Annual Songfest. Summer Craft Bazaar. Family Camp. Back-To-School Revival. Annual Family & Marriage Seminar. Annual Children’s Crusade. Annual Church-In-The-Park Sunday. Fall Fest Block Party. Friend Day. Trunk-or-Treat. Family and Friends Thanksgiving Dinner. Christmas Banquet. Youth Christmas Caroling. The Giving Tree. Christmas Drama. BREAD Bible Reading Awards.
Traditions are important. They also provide a great time to invite a friend. Remember: 100% of your new converts come from your church visitors. Growing churches provide lots of “invite a friend” opportunities, and annual traditions go a long way toward filling this need.