If you are involved in ministry for any length of time you will probably be expected to plan and execute a “Big Event.” Too often a large scale event is presented by a ministry and unspoken expectations are not met. With that in mind let’s look at how to plan, prepare, and host a large event for your ministry.
#1 Assemble a Team
Gathering a group of people to share the vision for the event is the first step. Taking the idea and fleshing it out through a brainstorming session can lead to creativity and ownership by the team. Carefully choosing your team will be vital to your success. A diverse group of personalities and talents with a shared passion can become a catalyst for great things.
You need to look for individuals with a myriad of talent and experience. A good number for the core team is 3 – 5. This will allow for a group large enough to bring fresh perspectives, yet small enough to be able to make unified decisions quickly.
#2 Ask the right questions
Why are we hosting the event?
You may be surprised to find out how many events happen without ever asking this core question. This needs to be the very first question asked and answered. The response to this question is going to drive the answers to all of the following questions.
What are the goals and expectations for the event?
Yes, get the expectations out in front of everyone and set goals. Make sure the goals are measurable and attainable.
Who is the target audience for this event?
This question may have been addressed in the Why. If not, the target audience will definitely drive other decisions. Is the event for families, children, teens or tweens? The elements of the event must be tailored to be attractive to your target.
What is the budget for the event?
It is definitely difficult to host an event for 200 on a budget of $50. When scheduling talent for a large scale event the budget question will arise quickly. Questions involving the budget include: Will this be a ticketed event? Is the event held on campus or is there a need to rent a venue?
When will the event take place?
Seems simple enough, right? There a number factors that must be considered prior to scheduling an event? How much advance notice does your target audience need? What other events will your event be competing with for the same audience? Ex. Hosting an event targeted at High School students on Friday night during football season can severely impact your attendance. Holidays, school events, etc. need to be considered when setting a date.
#3 Plan the Proper Promotion
Once you know the essential details of Who, What, When, Where your next step is promoting your event. While this step is vital to your success, those involved in ministry too often leave this key piece out of the equation. Taking advantage of a number of sources will go a long way to help insure your target audience is aware of your event. Create quality, event specific promotional pieces that will build awareness and communicate excellence.
Utilize as many avenues as possible to communicate the details of your event including: Church Bulletin, Newsletters, Postcards, Email, Social Networking, etc. Once you believe you have communicated your message clearly communicate it again!
#4 Finesse the Details
One team member that is vital to your success is the “accountant” personality – someone who is detail centric and will continue to ask questions that may drive the visionaries crazy! However, it is attention to the details that can make or break an event.
#5 Follow-through & Follow-up
Be sure you provide the type of event that your promotion promises and even better, provide more than you’ve promised. Quality can not be substituted. Before your event is even close you must have a plan in place to do proper follow-up. Too often this stage is where the ball is dropped. A great event with no planned contact afterward misses a unique opportunity to build long-term impact.
A “Big Event” can help expose your ministry to a wider audience and at the same time communicate a commitment to excellence. How your ministry overall will be perceived is often determined by large scale events. Use this to your advantage by making sure you take the steps that lead to success.