Church Spotlight: Food Truck Sunday (Southridge Church)
We’re starting a new blog post series this week, where we will spotlight churches in the ProChurch community who are reaching out in their cities…
This week, we have a great interview with Pastor Micaiah Irmler, the lead pastor at Southridge Church in San Jose. He’s going to tell us about an event that they put on each year in their community: Food Truck Sunday.
It’s an idea that you may want to use at your own church. But even if you don’t, there’s a lot to learn from this conversation. Because Pastor Micaiah is also going to tell us how they engage visitors at these events and follow-up with them when its over. These are things that you can apply to any event at your church.
Our desire is that these interviews, ideas, and resources would help you be more effective in reaching the community where God has placed you and your church.
This is at the heart of our mission for helping churches. We want to combine high-impact print and digital resources with practical ministry strategies to help you engage your people, reach your communities, and grow your churches.
At ProChurch, we’re passionate about equipping churches with the resources they need to reach their communities with the saving message of Jesus Christ.
Can you tell us a little bit about this event for your church? Where did you get the idea for a “Food Truck Sunday”?
Each year, we put on a Food Truck Sunday at our church, typically in the Fall or in the Spring before Easter, and we cover the meal for every teen and adult who attends. We usually spend about $10 per meal. We give the kids hot dogs, chips, and a drink, because most of them don’t mind, and you can save money by giving them something else.
The key to a special Sundays is lead time. Most of the time you need a minimum of 5 weeks to get everything organized and ready to go for an effective Sunday were the church can maximize the growth potential of a special Sunday.
Around the San Jose area, we find that its best to offer a variety because we have so many different ethnicities. Our go to options are:
We pre-pay $1000 per truck, so we usually only ask three trucks to attend. Between the trucks we can get anywhere from 300-350 meals. This usually covers all the adults in attendance because we have hot dogs, chips, and a toy in a bag for the kids.
Most of the time, the kids would rather have get their bag and then go play in the jump house, bubble machine, Karaoke, or the pony rides (The pony rides don’t cost our church anything because the parents pay to have their kids ride).
On bigger Sundays like these, we typically add a service and present a gospel message that is shorter and more evangelistically focused.
We have our Life Group or Small Group leaders there to actively help recruit people to their small groups as a way of connecting the first time guests to the church for a stronger connection and better chance to have them come back.
Usually this is a big turnout. In 2017, we had 337 out for the event (our average attendance was 130 at the time). last year, we had over 500 people come out to the event, when our average attendance was 200.
On the day of the event, we do a raffle for everyone who fills out a connection card. This helps us get contact info from everyone who attends.
Our follow-up process for first-time guests normally includes:
- We call them.
- We send a follow-up letter.
- We put them on an email campaign that lasts 8 days.
- We make home follow-up visits where we give them some of our custom blend Southridge coffee.
- We also use Text in Church to send them automatic follow-up messages (this plan that lasts three weeks).
This year, we’re also trying something new that we picked up from Chris Hodges at Church of the Highlands. During the services, we ask people to fill out a simple survey.
- What sermon series would be helpful to you? (money, relationship, or stress)
- Where they would rate their relationship with God between on a scale from 1-5?
- How did they enjoy the service?
We hope the ideas in this series will be a help and encouragement to your church as you seek to reach the people in your community with the good news of Jesus Christ.
If you’re interested in putting on a Food Truck Sunday at your church, you should check out the new design we created just for an event like this.
The design set includes everything you need for the event - invite cards, banners, social media graphics, announcement slides, web banners, and more.
Just create a free account and edit the design template in our online editor. Then, choose your download or print options.