Plan or die. It’s the way of life for a church administrator. The ability to plan is as necessary to a church administrator as having hands is necessary to a professional violinist. An administrator has to plan. But how? If a church expects to have a big event, someone has got to plan. How are you going to do it?
Here are six guiding steps that will help to focus, direct, and ultimately plan a special church event of any kind.
1. What is the Event?
As a first step, you must identify what the event is that you need to plan. Is it a wedding? A missionary conference? A fund raising event? A community car wash? Identify the event, and if necessary, focus it. A “youth event” is too vague. Instead, determining that it will be a “youth group paintball war” is far more helpful.
2. What is the Purpose of the Event?
Second, you must determine the reason for the event. This involves understanding the general goal as well as specific goals. For example, if you are understand that you need to plan a wedding, you will next need to find out what your goals are for the wedding. The primary goal should be obvious: you want to get two people hitched.. The secondary set of goals may be to provide a worshipful ceremony, make a beautiful and memorable event, facilitate guests, offer an edifying ceremony, have a time of fellowship with bride and groom etc.
Determining the purpose of your event is the most important phase. Think of it in two steps:
- Determine the overall goal.
- Identify secondary goals.
Write down your goals. They will guide you as you continue to plan.
3. When will we schedule the event?
In a recent post, we discussed the importance of selecting the right time to have an event. Find out both the calendar date and the time of day that you will have the event. Be sure that you do this early in the process. Date selection will be important as you organize personnel, prepare facilities, and announce the event. Be specific. Saying, “Oh, we’ll try to have this early in the fall” is useless. Instead, you should say, “We need to tentatively plan our Free for Fall Fun Festival for Saturday, September 16 at 7pm. Let’s pencil in the date.”
4. Who is involved in the event?
Next, find out the major participants for the event. “Major participants” will include the speaker, guest speaker, missionaries, musicians, or other people who will be an integral part of the event. For example, the major participants of a wedding are the bride, groom, minister, and wedding party. The major participant for the financial planning seminar is the special finance speaker. Find out who the major participants are, and get their contact information, etc.
5. What task groups will be necessary for the event?
This step is both the easiest and the most difficult step. It is easy because it involves delegating. It is difficult, because delegating and leadership of multiple groups is not easy. In this step, you will perform two separate steps.
- Break down the event into small, manageable chunks.
- Appoint groups of volunteers to oversee each chunk.
Along the way, scheduling, checking, organizing, and leading meetings will be part of the tasks, but the best way to think of it is in those two major phases.
First, break down the event in to small manageable chunks. In other words, rather than tackle “wedding plan” as a gargantuan event, separate it into its components: 1) Music, 2) ceremony planning, 3) decorations, 4) rehearsal dinner, 5) facility preparation and cleanup, 6) hospitality, 7) bulletins and media, etc. If you are hosting a special speaker, you may break down your event into chunks such as 1) prayer, 2) housing, 3) meals, 4) media, 5) music, 6) facilities, 7) ushers, 8) visitation, and on and on. By the time you have finished breaking down an event, you may have fifteen or more separate chunks. That’s ok. The smaller the chunk and the more comprehensively you have planned, the more manageable the event will become.
The second phase is appointing groups of volunteers to oversee each chunk. Here is where you build the machinery of the event planning. Appoint individuals to oversee each “chunk” of the event. Most groups will need other volunteers to serve within that chunk. A leader of the event, such as a head usher will be able to organize the other ushers to effectively staff the event. A head of the food committee will be able to find cooks, dishwashers, table servers, and other personnel to help them with their task. You may find it necessary to have regular meetings of the entire volunteer staff, of the committee leaders, or of select groups as you move forward and plan the event.
6, Where will the money come from for the event?
Money ought not to be an afterthought in planning an event. Unless your ministry is flush with cash, and you have an unlimited budget, you will need to determine 1) how much you are authorized to spend, and 2) where the money will come from? Often, having a finance committee or a fundraising committee will be helpful. As always, you should report to the church treasurer and/or pastor in planning the financial aspect of the event.
Planning is a behemoth responsibility. Fail to do it, and you’ll sink. Do it successfully, and you will soar. As with nearly anything in life, practice will help you to improve. And prayer is ultimately what will make the event profitable.