Is your community glad your church exists? In the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Ga., local businesses and schools are thrilled Piedmont Church is there. Led by Ike Reighard, Piedmont is committed to blessing its community and has seamlessly woven itself into the daily fabric of North Atlanta life. Nowhere was this more apparent than this past Saturday when the church put on an event called Christmas at Piedmont.
As a gift to the community, Piedmont partnered with local businesses and schools to host over 20,000 visitors during this two-day event. The church’s senior associate pastor, Marlon Longacre, and for my money the best community pastor in America, first made me aware of Christmas at Piedmont back in November. But when I read about it on the front page of the Marietta Daily Journal as “One of the Top 5 Things to Do in Marietta This Weekend,” I knew my family needed to stop by.
The following is what I and thousands of others discovered upon arriving at the church (and I want to emphasize—this a church):
- 30+ booths manned by local businesses creating goodwill by providing free giveaways and promoting their services.
- Multiple food venues including Chick-Fil-A and local restaurants.
- 40+ craft booths.
- 14 choral and multiple music groups from the local schools.
- Snow tubing from a man-made snow machine. This was a blast to have on a 55 degree day (see above).
- Petting zoo.
- And so much more …
I spoke with Marlon about the idea and logistics for such an extravaganza. The following are 12 Practices of Highly Effective Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence I gleaned from this amazing leader. I trust these thoughts will better help your church serve its community with excellence:
- Churches Who ServeTheir Community With Excellence Are Part of the Business and School System—Marlon is involved in the Acworth, Kennesaw and Marietta (all Atlanta suburbs) Business Associations as well as the Chamber of Commerce. In addition, the Piedmont staff has built relationships and serves EVERY school (elementary, middle and high) in its community.
- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Help Businesses and Schools Be Successful—Businesses want to get in front of as many people as possible. Schools want to display their product—great kids. Churches want as many people as possible visiting their campus. Christmas at Piedmont accomplished all three objectives. Sponsorship fees for businesses were as low as $100 with bags and coupons, $500 for a booth, or as high at $1,500 to sponsor the stage or petting zoo. Over the course of two days, over 20,000 local residents visited Christmas at Piedmont. The businesses and schools received great exposure. The benefit to church was summed up by Marlon who said, “We’ll have more people today than on Easter and Christmas Eve. More first-time guests.”
- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Save Money—It is good stewardship to serve your community. Because of the sponsorships, this event was put on at no cost to Piedmont Church. The church also received thousands of dollars of free advertising. In addition to being on the front page of the local paper, Christmas at Piedmont was promoted in the Cobb Business Journal. Another local publication, The Bright Side, promoted the event to the over 40,000 homes in its circulation.