Church Events can be incredibly helpful for your church when it comes to building community, growing your people, and reaching more people for Christ. But they can also be incredibly frustrating if you don’t find ways to PLAN WELL.
Many times, the event can become daunting and draining, and can end up having a negative impact on your team rather than something they are proud of and enjoy. We want it to be different for your church.
One of the keys to having great events at your church and seeing your volunteer teams thrive in these events is the PLANNING strategy. And part of your planning strategy should be to PLAN EARLY. If you wait until the last minute to plan, the event will probably be sub-par, your team will probably be frustrated out of their minds, and you won’t see the impact you hoped for.
Our friend Deborah Ike, is an expert when it comes to helping churches plan excellent events. She wrote an article about the importance of Planning Early, and gave practical steps on how your church can plan events a year ahead!
Sounds Great, right?
Here are 5 Steps to Planning your Church Events a Year Ahead
1. PUT EVERYTHING ON THE CALENDAR
This is the fun part: Get a huge wall calendar (erasable is best) and write out every event you intend to host in the upcoming year.
Have each ministry department leader put their events on the calendar and make sure you include all other church-wide events.
2. ORGANIZE A CALENDAR REVIEW MEETING
Once you’ve written them all down in one calendar, organize an event review meeting.
It’s important to have all ministry department leaders, the Executive Pastor, Senior Pastor, and ministry support department leaders (Finance, Communications, Facilities, etc.) participate in this calendar review.
3. DISCUSS THE CALENDAR
At the calendar review meeting, get to the nitty gritty of each event you’re intending to host. Here are some questions to help you move along the discussion:
- Have we hosted this event before? If so, was it successful? If not, why do we want to do it again?
- Do we have too many events within a 4- to 6-week time frame? If so, which ones can we move — if they aren’t specific to a season or holiday — or eliminate?
- What else is going on in our church or community that might conflict with any of these events? For example:
- Does your community host a large charity race, fair, parade, or another big event that would conflict with a potential church event?
- Do you have any remodeling or building projects coming up that could impact your ability to host an event during a certain timeframe?
- For summertime events: How engaged is your congregation in church events during the summer months? Do most people take a vacation or do they stay around town? Consider this before planning too many summer activities.
4. EVALUATE THE WORKLOAD
Dive even deeper into your review discussion by evaluating the possible workload issues that could arise with too many events. Ask yourselves these questions:
- If you have several events within a 4- to 6-week time frame, do you have enough volunteers to cover them without them having to work more than one event?
- Does your staff have the capacity to handle the preparation for several events at once? For example, can your Communications department create graphics, webpages, video announcements, and other promotional materials for multiple events at the same time? Even if many of the events are department-specific, the supporting departments will work on more than one event at a time.
5. CONSIDER THE BUDGET
The last thing to consider in your review is the budget. Do you have a budget set (at least a draft) for each event proposed? If not, prepare those numbers before finalizing the calendar.
You might find that you don’t have the cash flow to support several events at once. This could lead to you eliminating, scaling back, or spreading out events.
Planning church events can be a bonding and exciting experience for you and your planning team, but only if you have enough time to enjoy it.
With a little bit of intentional planning ahead of time, you’re setting your team up for success down the road.