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5 Keys to Planning Great Church Events


From small group gatherings to large church events involving the community, finding the right people for the job is an important step. Volunteers play a key role in church ministry, not only because of what the church can accomplish through them, but also because of the benefits volunteers receive. So how do you find the right person for the job? You can start with social media and post a survey so you can quickly find out people’s talents.

Once you have the information, you can use it again for the next event you plan. Director of Partner Connections at Fellowship Dallas, Jeanie Jones, says:

For our Harvest Festival last year, we were going to put booths together, which was a project led by our combined carnival and missionary teams. When looking for volunteers, we pulled a report for people with construction backgrounds, people that like to help with food, and other specific jobs that needed to be filled. In seconds, we had a list of names, with e-mail and phone numbers, to contact directly that had already shown an interest in these volunteer openings.”

Once you have your volunteers, set up a team meeting.

Key #1: The First Meeting

Once you have all your volunteers, it’s important to get everyone together so they can get to know each other. This first meeting allows the team to brainstorm ideas for the event and open the lines of communication. Also, having everyone together will allow the leader to set some goals and deadlines. These goals will be important to keep the planning on track and should be clearly explained to the team members. Here are some things to discuss in the first meeting:

  • Why are you having this event? Is this just for church members or is it open to the community? Is the purpose to give back to the community or to disciple others and worship?
  • When and where is this event going to take place?
  • Don’t forget to talk about how you are going to pay for the event. One reason events fail is because the finances are not properly planned.

This meeting will also help get your resource list going.

Key #2: Making a List, Checking it Twice

Make a list of all resources you could possibly need and break the list down so each person has a specific task. Create deadlines and stay in touch with the team members. Some items to think about: facilities, materials, and equipment. Don’t forget to check with the church for available resources. The church may have the sound equipment you need, but if you don’t reserve it for the event, you may be out of luck if someone else had it reserved for a different event.

Key #3: Spreading the Word

ACS events imageDon’t let all your hard work go to waste and make sure you are marketing your event! Of course you want your church congregation to know about the event so make sure it is in church announcements. Once your church members have the information, they can start to inviting their family and friends outside of the church. And make sure to spread the word early. Social media is a great way to spread the word with people outside the church. You can post event updates as details are finalized. This will help keep people excited about the upcoming event.

Key #4: Make a Great Impression

You want to leave your guests with a “WOW’ factor. You want your event to be polished and make your guests feel welcome. Consider some of the following:

  • Directions – not just to the event, but a map of where different activities are set up.
  • Signs and banners – to point people in the right direction.
  • Post event location in your church management software – this will be helpful to members by providing them with a map.
  • Information table – staffed with volunteers who can answer questions, give directions, and hand out resources about your church. Using your church management software, you can set up a kiosk so new users can add themselves to your database. Then you can send them a thank you for attending the event.
  • Ushers/Greeters – this helps guests make a personal connection at the event. This falls back to picking the right person for the job. You want your greeters to be warm and friendly.

Fred Smith Sr., a corporate leader and speaker, writes in the book, The Church Leader’s Answer Book: A Reference Guide for Effective Ministry:

Greeting people is a unique function, based on a gift and disciplined by dedication.  It is part of the true work of the church.”

If your event makes a lasting impression on people, they will help spread the word the next time you host another event.

Key #5: The End Result

One of the most important aspects of measuring your event’s success is by monitoring how many people came to your event. This can be accomplished by attendance tracking.

Once the event wraps up, meet with your team one last time to discuss the event process. This allows team members to share what worked and areas of improvement for the next event.

And last but not least, make sure you thank everyone involved in the planning process and volunteers who helped during the event. You may want to host a pizza party or give them a small gift as a token of your appreciation.

Whether it’s a party for several small groups or a community wide Fourth of July celebration, the key to a healthier, thriving body is getting people involved. When you do, ultimately you’ll spread the Gospel more effectively.

Utilizing church management software for events planning can dramatically increase your presence with your members and community, you can better assist each person with his or her own ministry goals as well as your own.

By implementing these ideas and tools, you can raise the bar on your event ministry. As a result, your footprint on your community will increase and your church will move closer to accomplishing its vision. If you have been “waiting” for the perfect time to redefine your ministry, the time is now.

To learn more about event planning, including stories of how other churches have succeeded, download our events guide.

Russ Fortier
Russ Fortierhttp://acstechnologies.com
Russ has served as the Manager of Training & Implementation Services for ACS Technologies since 2009. He currently manages a team of individuals who serve the local church by helping match technological solutions to meet ministry results. Previously he served as Minister of Education and Administration for Southside Baptist Church in Florence SC, before coming to ACS Technologies to launch consulting services. Russ is a graduate of Francis Marion University with a degree in Computer Information Systems and Management. Russ lives in Florence SC with his wife Wendy, and has two sons, Tyler and Davis.


  1. Hi Russ,

    Thanks for the great tips! I love registering for events online – this is such a huge help for families on the go with multiple kids. When we don’t have to fumble with checkbooks in the church lobby, it’s a huge win!



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