Simple tips to get churchgoers to mingle longer over their cup of java

Simple tips to get churchgoers to mingle longer over their cup of java

It's a not-so-secret secret that your church's coffee hour is about more than just coffee. Yes, that hot, delightful beverage is tasty, but it also serves as an invitation for people to stop and stay awhile. While a fresh brew is the first step, there are a few more things you can do to entice people to mingle, bond and build fellowship rather than drink and dash.

Set out board games: People of all ages love a good board game. Set up a table with a variety of choices or spread them out throughout the social space. If you don't have board games, a few decks of cards are an affordable alternative that entices guests into a little friendly competition.

Rotate hosts: Coffee hours exist thanks to dedicated volunteers. As part of the coffee ministry, consider rotating hosts each week so different people mingle with guests, helping everyone to feel comfortable and welcome. You may even ask different committees or families to rotate these duties.

Add food: Help members tame tummy grumbles by offering easy-to-serve food in addition to beverages. Doughnuts and doughnut holes are affordable extras to offer, and some churches go a step further and decide to sell extras in a cafe-style setting so guests can snack or even have a light meal.

Plan a directory event: How old is your church directory? If it's more than three years old, it's time to set up a new Lifetouch Church Directory event. Welcome guests by coordinating this event with coffee hours. Families who might not otherwise know each other are now mingling freely. Once you have a current directory, set out several copies provided free by Lifetouch at coffee hours for people to flip through casually.

Include children's activities: When kids are occupied and happy, parents tend to stay awhile. To attract the young families at your church, set out picture books and small toys that are easy to clean up. Blocks, puzzles and plastic figurines are tried-and-true classics that are durable and easy to clean.

Play music: Some light music can provide a wonderful backdrop for coffee socials. Instrumentals are a good choice that will appeal to multiple generations. Set up a CD player or a few speakers (depending on the size of your space), and play the music loud enough to hear but not so loud that it hinders people's ability to talk with one another. Suddenly toes may be tapping or kids may be dancing in circles!