Planning ministry events can be stressful and overwhelming. It doesn’t matter if you are planning an annual conference or weekly small group, planning takes hard work, time, energy, and oftentimes, money. 

Here are four “P’s” to keep in mind when planning an event: 

 

  • Prayer – Answers the Why?

via GIPHY

As with any ministry event, whatever you do should be inspired by the Holy Spirit and bathed in prayer from beginning to end. Author Henry Blackaby says, “We don’t choose what we will do for God; He invites us to join Him where He wants to involve us.” So, look at your ministry context and see where God is already working and what ministry is needed. Sometimes, people have “good ideas” but if they are not “God ideas,” they likely will not produce the desired results. If you are doing something just because it’s always been done, then it’s time to pray and re-evaluate.

 

  • Purpose – Answers the What?

via GIPHY

It is important to have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. Here are a few questions to consider and pray about:

  • What is your mission? Brainstorm, draft, and finalize a one sentence mission statement to keep you focused and on track.
  • What are your goals? Have at least 3 objectives with measurable outcomes. Perhaps provide an evaluation form to your participants at your event for feedback.
  • What will you call the event? Your title should incorporate the type of event (conference, retreat, fellowship, study, etc.). It should also be catchy and draw your target audience. 
  • Will you have a theme? If so, this provides a foundation/launching pad for any guest speakers/teachers, etc.
  • Will your event be for your church only or is it an opportunity for which to invite other churches or the community?

 

  • Plan – Answers the When, Where, and How?

via GIPHY

Your plan should be structured similar to a map. It should include all the ground that needs to be covered before, during, and after your event. 

  • When? Choose a date when your event will take place and work backwards on setting deadlines for getting things done. Give yourself ample time and be considerate of others’ schedules who will need to work alongside you. 
  • Where? Find the best possible location/venue that fits the needs of your event. 
  • How? 
    • Think of how much money it will take to pull everything off. Budget should include honorarium, food, decorations, resources, etc.
    • Do people need to register? Free or a fee? Keep it affordable for your audience.
    • How and where will you promote your event? Social media, radio, e-vite, mailings, etc. Need graphic design help? Canva.com is a great resource. 
    • Think of how many volunteers you need before and during your event.

 

  • People – Answers the Who?

via GIPHY

Recruit, recruit, recruit! Ministry leaders often take on too much and are stretched too thin. Ephesians 4:16 says, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

  • It is okay to reach out for help! In not asking for help, we are keeping our fellow members from serving, connecting, and growing. Hint: Don’t just make an announcement. It is more effective when you personally ask individuals to volunteer. 
  • Plug in people according to their spiritual gifts and strengths.
  • Delegate and trust. Ask your team leaders to regularly check-in with you to monitor progress but be careful not to micro-manage.
  • Regularly (and overly) communicate with all parties about what is needed so everyone is on the same page. Ministry events and planning are a team sport and like any good coach, provide positive encouragement along the way! 
  • Lastly, after any event, ask your team to debrief and ask 1) what went well, 2) what did not go well, and 3) how you can make improvements for next time.

Be encouraged! Hebrews 6:10 says, For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. The Lord sees everything you do for Him and His people! Thank you for making an eternal difference in the lives of those you lead and reach in whatever capacity you serve.

 

Rochelle Rocha Roots (healthyfamilyroots.com) has planned several ministry events over the years ranging from worship services, youth rallies, concerts, small groups, women’s retreats/conferences, and family conferences, including a community-wide outreach of 350+ volunteers from 25+ churches. She is the assistant to the President at SCS and occasionally teaches classes at the college as well.