I get energized when I dream up outreach events. One of my favorite pastimes is planning church wide concert series or barbecues in my back yard. I want to see people come, have a good time and find Christ. In fact, I get excited when I dream up outreaches and I’ve learned a lot over the past years. I’ve even learned a few things the hard way. The hardest lesson was learning how to actually get people to show up and then remembering to effectively follow-up with people once the party is over so they keep coming back.
It all comes down to prayer and planning.
Planning your event well takes careful thought. Everyone knows the 3 F’s (Food, Fun, and Fellowship) that make summer events successful. Eating together, playing together and spending time with each other creates a perfect environment for relational development. The 4th F, Follow-up, is where churches can drop the ball. For both large and small events, it’s important to have a follow-up plan in place.
Either way, both large and small events take different steps to make the event successful.
Here are eight questions to ask while planning your next large church event:
- Who’s my audience?
Fit your event to your audience. If it’s families with kids, plan fun games. Get them moving and provide activities. If it’s young adults, make it exciting. Take them hiking up a trail or rafting down a river.
- How will I get the word out?
Make a plan for email blasts, church posters, bulletin inserts, online ChMs forums, social media, and mail.
- How much will it cost?
Make sure it’s affordable for the church and your audience. Try your best to make it free, especially if your audience is families. Just don’t make it seem cheap. Give them great, lasting memories.
- What will it feel like when people show up?
We all know how it feels to walk into a new place. Make sure people are there to greet attendees. Make sure the place is clean and safe. Have a good music mix playing to create energy and set the tone. Make lots of signs so people know where things are located.
- What happens if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
Pick a back-up date or activity. Include this in the promotions. Move the party inside if you can or move it to another day if you can’t.
- How will you get their information?
People don’t want to give you their information. They don’t want more junk mail or visits from stranger. You can ask them for it, but give them assurance you won’t sell it or spam them. (*Please don’t sell their information or spam them.) You can have them register to receive their tickets, arm bands, or food voucher. You can have raffles or give-aways that require registration or a ‘like’ on your Facebook page.
- What will you do with their information?
Large events require organized follow-ups that keep people connected to the ministry after the event has ended. If you’re planning any large church events, make sure you’ve thought through your organizational follow-up as thoroughly as you’ve planned your menu, games, music and activities.
Define your follow-up plan. You should include prayer, mail, and electronic communication. Mail them something that has a purpose. Thank them for coming and invite them to another event or a weekend service. You might just keep them on a list to mail promotions out for other events. Handwritten thank you notes are powerful.
- Who will pray for them?
Today, prayer is underrated. It works so don’t forget to pray for visitors.
Planning a large event takes a lot of time and organization. But if you plan it well, you’ll reap the rewards. What is your best advice for planning a large church event?