Summertime is a great time to connect with families in unique and fun ways! I saw Darren Goodrich, a Family Pastor at a church in Florida, share this idea in a local children’s ministry Facebook group and had to learn more!

The idea is simple: set up a signup genius (or other scheduling tool) to invite families to choose a day over the summer when you, the kidmin leader (or someone from your team), will deliver a pizza to the family for dinner! It can be a surprise for the kids or something they know about.

Darren shares more about the idea on his blog here, and DKM subscribers can find a step-by-step plan for implementing this idea in their own church (including an email template) here! Darren also shared more about how he got the idea and what the families in his ministry had to say about it:

“I really had the idea to do this pizza delivery for kids because I communicated conflicting things to my parents and leaders on Wednesday nights for the summer months. I sent a calendar out at the beginning of last school year and listed out the dates we would be meeting in the summer as well as summer events for families. Well, I didn’t re-communicate that our End of the School Year Party was not the end, but just an event to celebrate the end of school.

So fast forward to Memorial Day Weekend; I’m talking with my wife and a couple of my leaders about the coming Wednesday night and how excited I was to pump the kids up for VBS in a few weeks. They were all puzzled at my excitement and all responded, “I thought we were done for the summer until the special events that were planned.” I went into a quick panic, and my wife began to tell me, she and other leaders were telling all the parents the same thing. I had dropped the ball.

Well, I took a fast pivot and devised a plan to save the summer! This whole year my theme for my ministry has been Family Engagement. I designed a graphic that took about 2 minutes, drafted an email to my parents and reminded them about the family summer events, including VBS, and just my love for them and their kids. At the end of the email I posted a link for them to sign up for a free pizza delivered by me to their home. In the form, I had three different dates with four spots available for each date.

I sent the email to parents at 10:15 PM on Tuesday night and posted it on Facebook moments after. I thought to myself, “We’ll see what happens.” Within minutes I had two spots reserved, and before 7:00 AM the next day all spots were reserved. In the registration process I asked for their address and phone numbers and made them required fields.

I confirmed with the parents that it was okay for me to deliver the pizza and made arrangements with them to see if they had any special instructions on getting into their neighborhood. I then simply placed the pizza order.

Then the hard work of mapping out my stops began. I opened up the maps app on my phone and began typing in the addresses by adding each additional stop. I was able to move them around to find the quickest routes between homes.

I picked up the pizzas and headed to my first delivery. I texted the parents to let them know I was on my way to their home. As I drove up to the first home, all the kids were playing outside and were confused about why I was there pulling into their driveway. I parked, got out of my truck and asked if there were any kids who ordered an EPIC Fist Bump and Pizza.

I gave them the pizza, a small kids ministry branded magnet, chatted for a few moments, took a few pictures, and told them how grateful I am that I get to be their pastor. I basically repeated the same process with each delivery; sending the text message, fist bump, and so on.

After making all the deliveries I went home to eat pizza with my family. Well into the night, I received text messages and social media posts from parents raving about me coming to deliver the pizza and visiting for a few moments. Every parent told me that their kid had not stopped talking about it for hours. One kid even invited her neighbor over to eat pizza with her and talked about how cool it was.

I am already looking at replicating this and allocating more opportunities and budget to make this more successful for this year and also expanding it for next year. For instance, during Christmas break when we aren’t meeting at church for mid-week activities; myself, and the rest of the kid’s staff are going to deliver Christmas cookies and sing carols. We are going to take a whole day and dedicate it to engaging with families where they are.”

This pizza delivery initiative is a brilliant way to connect with families and demonstrate your care and commitment. By planning, communicating effectively, and following up, you can create memorable experiences that strengthen your children’s ministry and church community. Keep building on your successes and continue finding innovative ways to engage with families in your church.If you’re looking for more ways to connect with families this summer, find 5 ideas here.

Learn more about Darren: Darren Goodrich is the Children and Families Pastor at LifePointe Church in Eustis, FL. He focuses on partnering with parents to raise the next generation to know, love, and serve Jesus by creating content and helping families at LifePointe Church create worshipful experiences in their homes.  Prior to serving at LifePointe Church, he helped plant The Remnant Church, a micro-church in Leesburg, FL. as the executive pastor. Darren has spent over twenty years in the marketplace and uses that knowledge to help lead him into how he approaches ministry. Darren is married to Amy, and they have three children who are all a part of the children’s ministry he leads–so, he is right there with you! Darren has a Bachelor of Science in Business with a focus in Leadership Studies from Liberty University. Read more from Darren here!

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