There are Fundays, Community Festivals and Community Celebrations.
What makes an Open Crowd Festival unique and effective is outlined in these building blocks.
To build community you need to be intentional.
Here is how.
An “Open Crowd” develops though a journey of three phases: engagement, cooperation and community..
Recognising the importance of the three phases helps you to be able to build towards community. 

.. It is helpful to run fun attractor activities that draw people into the Centre Games. You need activities that are welcoming and at times competitive. You are slowly building relationships with all those who are being drawn in. Run games where everyone can be welcomed to join in and those on the edge can smile, laugh and cheer people in the centre.
..They are interrelating with the members of the team and they are enjoying being involved. It may be a time to get everyone dancing through teaching Zumba. When the hula hoop competition begins, every child is introduced, recognised and cheered whether they can do it or not. It is good to ask the team to learn ten of the children’s names, so that every time they see the children they are getting to know they give them a high five, tell them how cool they are and repeat their name. if children feel seen, loved they won’t want to leave the centre of a growing community.
.. People are now ready for a final tug of war or Zumba, the Hokey Cokey and My Big Fat Pony. The last few minutes of the festival are critical. Many will want to understand something of what they have experienced. It will be right for the MC to ask if people have enjoyed their time, to encourage them to come back if it is more than one day. The MC explains clearly who is putting this on and why, challenging those listening to join the growing team in helping build community in the local area. Significantly you need a clear next step to invite people to. Encourage people to sign up or join in the next activities being planned. And make sure something happens within 2 weeks otherwise momentum is lost.
The Centre Games – Heart and Soul of the Festival
An Open crowd is a group of people genuinely welcoming of strangers. There needs to be a centre that people are invited in to yet at the same time can stand from a distance and observe.

What builds community at the Centre games?
A small team of people who know how the games work and who bring a sense of celebration and fun to all the activities is important.  If the team is focused and working together, the dynamic between them attracts more and more people to join in. 

Having clowns on the team can also add to building engagement.
If you possibly can, invite teenagers from 14 years up to be part of this team – they often bring life and energy.

What happens in the centre of the festival sets the tone for the whole environment so it is the place where consciousness of safety is the most important.  What this means is that boundaries need to be consistently kept and the individuality of each person respected. 

Use a large tug of war rope to create a physical circle of safety around the centre games, changing its configuration depending what games are being played.  Have everyone hold up the rope in a circle and reinforce that this is a circle that you don’t enter into unless you’ve been invited.

The role of the Centre Games MC is also important in creating a warm and welcoming environment. 
They are not to be like police but rather firm, fair and friendly … always welcoming and inviting others to join in.

When the hula hoop competition begins, every child is introduced and cheered whether they can do it or not.  Ensure each child is recognised. Ask the team to learn ten of the children’s names, so that every time they see the children they are getting to know they give them a high five, tell them how cool they are and say their name. 

Children feel seen, loved and don’t want to leave the centre of a growing community.
It is easy to run games but more of a challenge to train the team to facilitate an atmosphere
where everyone feels safe and it is a warm friendly experience.

These phases are most clearly seen in the centre games where the activities change to reflect and help build on the process amongst the crowd Here is an example of what games to choose to build the momentum of community.
phase activities
In the Pond, out the Pond

Water Baloon Voleyball

Parachute Games

What's the time Mr.Wolf?


phase activities
Tug of War

Beachball up in the Air


Hoola Hoop competition

Zumba dancing

phase activities
Hockey Cokey

Big Fat Pony

A final Zumba

A final giant
tug of war

Sharing your Faith
How does faith sharing happen at a Festival?

While there is no preaching from the front there are a number of ways faith is shared at a Festival.
If your festival is working well, there will be a real sense of family that develops on the day; people will be relaxed and comfortable and having a good time together.  In an environment like this it is natural to talk about the things of life. 

For God’s people, this provides a wonderful opportunity to share our faith with neighbours, friends and strangers and in a gentle and caring way inviting them into God’s family.

Find out more here!
Sport Festivals
What's next? A rhythm of mission

An Open Crowd Festival by itself won’t bring a change to your community. Develop a rhythm of mission to your community outreach.   Make sure you have next steps in place to invite people to when the Festival finishes.
Try to act within 2 weeks as after that momentum is gone.

Open Crowd Community Festivals
3x3 – Plan 3 Festivals throughout the year and if possible make at least one of the 3 times over three days.
Shape the cultural calendar of your community – Easter, Summer, Autumn, sporting events, national or local celebrations etc.
Run Festival Training in the lead up to your next Festival from those you met at your Festival who wanted to help.

Christmas Pageants
Bringing the Christmas story to life in your community. Imagine your whole community coming together to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas and the children of the neighbourhood being the stars of the show.

All the details of how to organise it including videos are available at

Messy Church or Church in the park
Messy Church is a way of being church for people of all ages and is proving especially attractive to families with children. You can sign up for resources and ideas that will get your Messy Church underway

Programs Serving Special Interest Groups

Research Project
Gather a team of local volunteers to research the needs and resources in your community so that you can develop an integrated 5 year plan that addresses real needs and gives strategic form to the Process of Mission in your area. Contact us for more details at

Kid’s Clubs
After your Festival run a combined Churches Kid’s Club so that it meets weekly to follow up the children who have been part of your Festivals.  There is a variety of Kids’ Clubs material available.  One we recommend for free is at

Youth/Sports Cafe
Could you consider running a Youth Café during the Games, during your Festivals or establishing one to follow up the young people you have met at your Festival? it’s free online at

Sports Ministry
The 2012 Olympic Games will come and go, but sport remains and it will remain a constant in your community.

A Young Mum’s Group
Could you as a result of meeting lots of mums at your Festival start a Craft group or a toddlers group with young mums? Fusion in Australia runs a group called Wiggling Wombats, a young parents support group; it’s a place of warmth and support opening possibilities for families to grow. for more information

Sports Alpha
Alpha International is producing a range of sports materials to assist churches in linking Alpha as a means of follow-up to their 2012 outreach events.   Alpha is ideal as a follow-up for such outreach, and Sports Alpha aims to provide material to churches to link their sports outreach to their Alpha course. Videos now available on  the Alpha website. Programs to gather the Christian Community

Do you know who is praying for your community?  Could a prayer group meet each week to pray for your community? Could you plan a 24-7 prayer event for your community? All the information you need is on the 24-7 website Use the momentum gained from your Festival to invest in on-going prayer for your community. Ensure that at your Festival there are clear invitations to help people make the next steps.  Some Festivals have a Church information table with details of when local Church services are on and invitations to follow up programs