1. Organize a planning committee. This should include your most creative church members. It would also be well to have representation from your Personal Ministries Committee and your youth department.
2. Reserve a spot at the fair. Do this early enough to pick a good location. Look at the traffic patterns of the exhibit hall and get a spot near the entrance if possible.
3. Keep the focus of the event in front of your group at all times by:
a. Building a positive focus for your church in your community.
b. Distributing literature.
c. Following up the interest and friendships that were created at the fair.
4. Choose your theme. Here are four suggestions. You can mix and match these themes.
c. Bible Prophecy
d. Your Friends the Adventists
5. Promote this event at church. Begin early to solicit volunteers.
6. Organize prayer bands for this event. Every Sabbath remind the Sabbath School classes to pray for this outreach. Invite members who can not help at the fair to be praying every day during the fair for the materials distributed. Keep the prayer bands praying even after the fair that individuals will sign up for studies.
7. Order supplies from your Adventist Book Center. Call and ask for an order sheet at 800-765-6955.
8. Design your booth. Some elements that add to an attractive booth:
a. Banner—most towns have a sign shop that can make an inexpensive banner for you.
b. Table cloth.
c. CD player with appealing music. (Some exhibit halls allow this and others do not. Check with your fair.) See the order form for some suggestions.
d. A large TV monitor with video or DVD playing. See the order form for some suggestions.
e. Attractively arrange materials on the table. Make sure the titles are visible to those passing by your exhibit.
f. Create several signs that say “Free Material. Help Yourself.”
9. Recruit and organize your volunteers.
a. Volunteers should be friendly and outgoing.
b. Prepare name badges that feature the first name of the volunteer boldly and easily read.
c. You might choose to have your volunteers where matching shirts.
d. Encourage them to wear comfortable shoes since they will be doing a lot of standing.
e. Train them to say:
i. “Did you get your FREE copy of . . .?”
ii. “Did you put your name in for the drawing for a free _______?”
10. Schedule your volunteers. Keep shifts to about 3 hours so as to not wear out your volunteers
11. Work hard during the fair.
a. Make sure that you include a Bible Study enrollment card in every book, booklet and magazine distributed. Even if there is an advertisement for Bible Studies in the book, include a card. You are wanting to give every opportunity possible for individuals to request studies.
b. Find every way possible to get names for follow-up:
i. Have a drawing and give away a set of books. Have individuals fill out a card with name and address.
ii. Have a sheet of paper listing various programs your church offers—stop smoking programs, Revelation Seminars, etc. and let individuals sign up to receive more information.
12. Debrief the event with your volunteers. What were the strengths? How can you improve for next year?
13. Lay plans for next year’s fair.
a. Within the first week of the fair being over, send a letter to each person that stopped by your booth. Send them a book. See order form for suggestions. Tell them about the activities of your church.
b. Send a subscription to Signs of the Times to those who stopped by your booth.
c. Send a second follow-up letter about 3 weeks later with another book.
d. Invite these individuals to various events at your church—evangelistic meetings, etc.
Suggested materials—Available at the Adventist Book Center online store:
The Sign—2009 Sharing Book of the year by Shawn Boonstra. Broken Chains—by Doug Batchelor.
Overcoming the 3 Ds: Depression, Discouragement, Despair—by Jim Ayer.
Dr. Arnott's 24 Realistic Ways to Improve Your Health—by Tim Arnott, M.D.
McDougall’s [EM]All You Can Eat Vegetarian Cookbook—by John and Mary McDougall.
Desire of Ages—ASI Edition
Great Controversy—ASI Edition
Bible Readings—ASI Edition
Christ’s Object Lessons—ASI Edition
Ministry of Healing—ASI Edition
Happiness for Life—Steps to Christ by Ellen White.
Pocket Signs—Note list of different topics.
Certainty in an Uncertain World—Signs of the Times special issue
Tobacco: You Can Be Free—by Loma Linda University
Bible Treasures—Note the different topics available
Great Stories for Kids—by Jerry Thomas
Dale Galusha is President of Pacific Press Publishing Association.