Looking for a focus for your church’s Lent, summer, or other seasonal series? Stanwood Foursquare Church in Stanwood, Washington has found a unique way to center their holidays. They use the Food for the Hungry (FH) gift catalog as an opportunity for their church members to show gratitude to God for His gift of Jesus.
While Stanwood Foursquare chooses to focus around Christmas, the ideas could easily translate into Lent or another season.
Generosity and More
Devotionals for Stanwood Foursquare’s campaign include Scripture reading, prayer, and giving.
“We do a whole church campaign called the Arrival,” Emily explained. “It all leads toward giving to FH as well as some other long-term partners, but it isn’t just about giving.”
Step by Step
Stanwood Foursquare has developed the Arrival campaign over several years through thoughtful messaging and quality content. Emily Plater, Assisting Pastor at Stanwood Foursquare, provided a how-to list of the church’s approach to incorporating the gift catalog into a season.
Intro Videos: The season begins with intro videos on a weekend to build excitement and explain what’s coming. “We start early so that people don’t spend all their money at Black Friday before we begin,” Emily said.
Booklet: The church produces a devotional plan in booklet form, which is distributed on the weekend and mailed to homes. “Each year I select several FH projects including animals, child sponsorships and development projects,” Emily explained. These projects are incorporated into the giving opportunities provided in the booklet.
Weekly Videos: “We highlight some of the projects in a weekly video that is shown on Sunday and posted to social media,” Emily said.
Daily Devotions: “This year we are also posting daily devotional videos by our staff to social media to help with the devotional element and to tell stories about some of our partners,” Emily said. In one video, Emily shares about her FH sponsored child, Gregori.
Children’s Ministry and Youth Ministry: “Our kids’ ministry and our youth ministry each select a specific Arrival project that they creatively encourage kids to give to,” Emily said. “Last year the kids were given piggy banks to put money in to buy pigs. This year, the youth pastor is going to shave his head if a specific amount is given.”
“One of our youth got a seasonal job just so he could give more to the Arrival! Another young elementary student I know does chores for a month in order to be able to give more.”
Special Offerings: “This all builds to two Sundays where we receive a special offering,” Emily said. “These are the only two Sundays we take a second offering the whole year. Each year we select a special Arrival song that we use in our videos and that is played live by our band when the offering is received along with footage from our different partners on the screens.”
Celebration: “Finally, during our Christmas Candlelight services we show a celebration video that shares what was given,” Emily said, such as the number of pigs that were given and the number of children sponsored.
Joy of Giving
“Many people give for the very first time at the Arrival and discover for the first time the joy of giving,” Emily said. “I remember one year there was a single mom who was struggling at Christmas time. Near Christmas, she received some financial help and was excited that she was able to give to the Arrival to help the poor and vulnerable around the world.”
Stanwood Foursquare has a long-term relationship with Food for the Hungry in the community of Batey Antonci, Dominican Republic. Through the Arrival and year-round promotion, they have seen over 130 children sponsored through their partnership.
Ready to develop your own seasonal giving campaign? Contact our Church Engagement team!