We have been working in East Aurora for 6 years now. We are about to host our 7th annual Christmas Gift Mart. We are working in some capacity with 8 schools in District 131--doing tutoring, youth mentoring, parent mentoring, art clubs, and community events. We have had office space in the community for over a year where we run Tae Kwon Do two nights/week, Kids City for 1st - 15th graders one night/week, and StuCo for 6th - 12th graders one night/week. All of this has been laying the groundwork for bringing a bilingual, multi-cultural Community Christian Church campus to the community. That campus will finally open on January 10, 2010.
Typically when we launch a campus, we send thousands of postcards to the community, and that has proven to be pretty effective. We aren't sure that strategy will work as well in this community. So, we will be sending some postcards to a limited geographic area, but the primary promotional strategy is to sponsor community events in the space where we will hold church. We have over 100 kids that are part of our Kids City and StuCo programs, but we had not met most of their parents. So, we invited them all to a Thanksgiving Dinner in November. We had 180 people that joined us for dinner! Last night, we hosted a Las Posadas, a Mexican Christmas party. We had over 200 people that joined us for food, mariachis, pinatas, and fun. And then on New Year's Eve, we will host two Hispanic bands--one from Texas, one from Chicago--for a big concert to ring in the New Year. A week later we will launch our campus.
We have met so many wonderful people through these events and many have inquired about the church we will launch. It will be very different from anything most of them have experienced. Will they come? We'll find out on January 10th or 17th or 24th or maybe not until March or July. But, I am convinced that this relational approach to preparing for the launch is a perfect strategy for this community. And it sure is a lot of fun!