If you’re looking for a reason to beat the summer heat, get out and have fun, and make a difference in someone’s life consider doing a two hour Splash Bash in a park near your home.
A “Splash Bash” is an outreach idea that was born out of desperation a couple years ago. We live in the Dallas suburbs and instead of doing a VBS we decided to do something creative and go for a week-long backyard Bible club (be careful about being creative). We got our kids ready. We advertised for it. We put all our crafts together and planned the lessons out for a couple weeks.
On the first day we got nobody.
On the second day we got nobody.
On the third day we simply got desperate–guerrilla warfare desperate. So we TOTALLY switched gears and decided on a spontaneous outreach to kids. We took all the water balloon gear we had and the colored gospel bracelets and advertised a Splash Bash event in the park. Instead of a week-long event it was just over an hour. Instead of trying to accomplish a lot of Bible teaching we focused on just sharing the gospel as simple as possible. And even though there was a pool next to us we got kids showing up! Since then we’ve done this in other places and seen kids pray to trust Christ through this event. Here is all we’ve done. You can take this and improve on it.
1. Decide on a location and time for the event. You need to simply find a park or gathering spot where kids are present. We’ve seen this work really well at an apartment complex or densely populated area with kids. You might need to get permission but if you’re hoping to build community most places will let you do it. We have done ours at 10am on Saturday though an evening might be better in some places.
2. Advertise for it. Take your team of people (you only need 5-6 but you can have more if you like) and pray for God to open doors in the community. Go to the homes and put a flyer on their door inviting the kids to the Splash Bash event. You should do this the day before because kids may forget. Any kids you run into that day talk it up and let them know there is going to be a water balloon war at the end of the event with popsicles. Your flyer just needs to have basic information with pics of water games…make it fun.
Splash Bash! Tomorrow! Saturday at __________park at 10am | Water Games | Water Balloon War | Popsicles | FREE
If you’re doing this as a missional outreach with other believers in your neighborhood maybe you want to add “hosted by your neighbors _________________” If you’re doing it as a church put your church logo on the flyer.
If you have time go out in twos and knock on some doors and let them know what you’re doing. Ask kids to tell their friends.
3. Prep for it. The biggest items to prep for are filling up the water balloons. If you’re expecting 15 kids from the neighborhood to come out you need to have anywhere from 50-100 water balloons. Keep in mind that for a kid the more balloons you have the better and the more legit the Splash Bash the more likely you will be invited back. You also need to put a list of your games together and ask one person from your team to lead the games. This person is ideally great with kids and a good leader and able to get everyone’s attention.
4. Start with Games. Show up early and give any kids that show up a balloon and ask them to take that balloon around to their friends in the neighborhood and tell them to come to the Splash Bash. A kid telling his friend about a water balloon event at the park while holding a water balloon is awesome. They will leave the TV to come out.
When a good amount of kids show up you can start playing games and let the crowd build a crowd. If ANY game seems to really take off than do it several times…
* Water balloon toss (just like egg toss)
* Over/Under relay (you could also do this with a cup of water)
* Hunger Games–this game can be done on your own or as a team. Each person tries to protect their balloon while breaking all other opponents. The last man/team standing wins.
* Water Gun War–break up the group into teams and pull out some super soakers and have a war
5. Tell them about Jesus. Ask everyone to sit down in groups of 3-4 kids per leader. Have prepared kits ready for each kid to make a gospel bracelet. Have each leader share the story of the gospel and how trusting in Jesus has changed their life. Take your time and get to know the kids. If any child is interested in trusting in Jesus show them how to pray by modeling it and praying with them. From these conversations you’re seeking to build a relationship with parents in the community and establish a gospel presence through the church.
6. Give out popsicles. Have a cooler with your popsicles ready to go and a leader who can give them out. Use the opportunity to get to know the kids more and talk with any parents who are there. Tell them you are there simply to get to know the community and share the love of Christ.
7. Do a final water balloon war. Save a few balloons and make two teams (maybe out of the original two groups who did the egg toss). If kids are small you will want to create some distance between older kids who will hurl it and hurt the little ones. So make a line like in dodgeball and give each kid one or two balloons and let them go at it.
8. Finally clean up the park. Make sure you have the kids pick up the broken balloons all over the park. We’ve given incentives like an extra popsicle or make it a final game to see who can get the most. Leave the park better than you found it.
This is an event that can work in almost any context that is hot like Dallas. The advantages are it is relatively short to do, creates a memory for your team, builds relationships with the community (most parents and grandparents we’ve interacted with LOVED that we cared about their kids to do this), and very inexpensive.