Christian Events: Four Ways to Improve Your Planning

Christian events can take on a variety of topics, demographics, and more. Church socials, missions conferences, and youth rallies are just a few examples of the kinds of events that exist to cater to believers. Although most people who attend these events probably take it for granted, there’s usually months of planning that goes into Christian events at churches or non-profits. If you’ve been to a few gatherings like these, you know not all of them turn out as well as expected. Why is that?

Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances which are completely unavoidable. A surprising weather forecast has ruined more events than we’ll ever be able to count. Other times, the planning seems to go perfectly, but the execution doesn’t pan out. Perhaps failure isn’t necessarily your problem. Maybe you’ve seen success ranging from mildly satisfying to overwhelmingly positive. The trick is in being able to replicate that success and build on it in the future. This piece isn’t about calling anyone out for being a poor planner and it’s certainly not a quick fix for groups that are having trouble with their Christian events. Maybe, just maybe though, one or all of these points will help in future event planning. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to improve your Christian events.

Pray, Plan, and Pray Some More

Believers know that prayer is important. When a family member is sick, we pray. When we’re worried about trying to keep the lights on, we pray. Christians have no problem turning to God in a time of need. We’re also pretty good about praying for our leaders, cities, and churches. Not everyone thinks about the importance of prayer when it comes to Christian events, though.

When we’re talking about prayer, we don’t mean a simple opening prayer at the start of your event. If you were getting married, you wouldn’t start thinking about the planning involved just as the bride started to walk down the aisle. Prayer is the bedrock upon which our actions and plans should be laid. When it comes to planning Christian events, that might mean praying for the right speaker to be available, good weather, a community of people receptive to the idea, or anything else.

Before the planning process begins, be sure to pray for wisdom, efficient meeting times to plan the event, divine appointments in the planning and execution, and any other need that fits your specific circumstances. Once you begin to plan, take into account everything that you need to pull the event off. Then, think of everything that could go wrong and try to minimize the effect that those issues might have. For tips on basic event planning, check out some of the blogs and magazines dedicated to the field.

Once you’ve done all the necessary planning, you’d like to kick your feet up and wait for the event to start, but this is usually the most hectic part of event planning. It’s incredibly rare for all of your planning to go off perfectly, so keep your head on a swivel. Continue to pray for a positive outcome for your event. Even if it’s just a celebratory luncheon, there’s no harm in putting in a little extra prayer.

Christian Events: Four Ways to Improve Your Planning

Know Your Audience

Another important aspect of the planning process is knowing your audience. We’ll take it back to the opening sentence of Rick Warren’s Christian bestseller The Purpose Drive Life: “It’s not about you.” Unless you are the target demographic for a certain event, your personal opinion is secondary at best. Even if you are, you should talk to those from a similar background and get some ideas that might work best.

If you’re dealing with millennials, you want to address them differently than baby boomers. Depending on who you’re going for with the Christian event, you may want to completely scrap your original idea. Your event may be so small that you’re the only one making decisions. In that case, research similar events online and talk to people around you who have experience with Christian events. Maybe it’s a really big event and you have a whole team to assist you. Use them. Delegate, ask for input, and start some brainstorming.

Since these are Christian events, we want to remember that the ultimate audience is God. Just like everything else in life, our actions should both glorify him and seek to make His name known. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” This is something we should take into account every day, but especially when we are hosting Christian events. We’re not just trying to throw a successful function, but we are working heartily as unto the Lord.

Have a Vision For Your Christian Events

Imagine if you packed your family into the car for a road trip, but didn’t have a plan for where you were going or what you would do when you got there. This is the same way that some churches and organizations put on Christian events. Is it possible to have a good event without a bigger picture in mind? Sure, just like it’s possible to have fun on a vacation that you fail to plan for. Do you really want to take that chance, though? Christian events that are successful in the moment but don’t serve a larger purpose are worth very little in the long run.

What’s the point of your event? Is it to raise awareness? Encourage involvement in the church? A ministry opportunity? Just simple community building? Whatever it is, you’ll want to be able to answer the question of why you are holding the event in the first place. The first reason for that is that your ministry, organization, etc. has limited resources. You’ll want to think about how the event serves your larger purpose when you consider how much effort, money, and time goes into planning it.

Also, having a bigger picture in mind helps you to evaluate the event after the fact and decide on what facets you want to keep, tweak, or drop altogether. It’s hard to know just how successful your event is if you aren’t thinking about the next step. Are you satisfied with the quality, scope, and reach of your current events, or do you want to advance? There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a win, but eventually you have to move on and continue in your efforts. That’s when you have to consider the elephant in the room.

Don’t Be Afraid of Change

One of the scariest phrases to hear in a meeting at a church, school, or business is “That’s how we’ve always done it.” In most circumstances, this phrase is the last defense offered for a program or idea that simply isn’t working anymore. Tradition is a wonderful thing. If you take a moment, you can probably think of several traditions in your life that don’t really make a whole lot of sense. You simply do them out of habit.

In baseball, one tradition that has lasted over a century is the seventh inning stretch. We’re not even sure why we do it, but each and every game in the minors and majors consists of a stretching period and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Like many traditions, the seventh inning stretch is nostalgic and harmless. The same can’t always be said about how we plan events or run organizations. There are many churches and organizations out there who are living proof of the adage “adapt or die.”

No one is saying that Christian events or their hosts should change their values, but we should be constantly evaluating how we are getting the message out and what effect we are having on the world. Don’t fear change, as it just might be the saving grace for your event.

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