I have been chatting with our team about the 1st Wednesday events that we have been doing since last year. In short, the 1st Wednesday of the month we do what a “typical” youth group would do: Welcome, announcements, worship, game prizes, message and groups with an event after. The other Wednesdays of the month are basically just focused on messages and small groups and that’s it.
The thing is: 1st Wednesday is ALWAYS coming. Every month has a 1st Wednesday and we need to be prepping for it. The reason is that we have seen in our ministry context, 1st Wednesdays work in bringing in new people and they set up our students well to keep on inviting them. We saw over 850 first time students last year and 50% of those student came on a 1st Wednesday. So in our context, the strategy works. They are important and they are worth the time we put into them.
So I will ask you the same questions I asked my team in regards to event planning as part of our strategy:
1. Have you done your due diligence?
We know that 1st Wednesdays are coming. You have a month to plan the next one. Have you put in the time and the effort to make sure your students and leaders can win? If the purpose of them are to have them invite new friends, have we done what we can to plan ahead and let them know what they are inviting them to? Or are we waiting until the week of to plan it and not able to promote it fully? Think about the events that you put on. Do you manage your time well to make sure everything gets taken care of? The promotion plan? The little details? Getting your leaders involved? All of that comes with being ahead of the game.
Most of the time an event or a strategy fails is because we got distracted, we suck at time management or we have not deemed this event as important so we put it off. We get stuff done last minute and things fall through the cracks and we rush to try to do it all ourselves and what happens is not only the event suffers but the trust your students have to invite new people to come be a part of what you got going on suffers as well.
Have you done what you need to do to make this event excellent?
2. Is this event worth it?
For real. You should ask yourself this question for every event that you plan. You should ask it. You should ask your leaders. You should ask your students. They will tell you. This is important because if we are going to spend time, energy, and budget on something… well… it better be worth it. If an event it worth it, your students will invite friends because they are willing to spend some relational capital with non-churched to invite them to come. If the event is worth it, your leaders will be pumped and they will be on their A-game. If the event is worth it, you know you have not wasted your time and you didn’t have to plan an event you kind of thought was cool and your students didn’t at all.
Here is the thing: If you don’t do #1 you won’t get #2. Chances are if you really nail down #1, #2 comes along with it because everyone will know what is coming, what it is, why is awesome and it will be well-executed because you have done everything to make sure it will be a success.
Because this is something that works well, we need to make sure we spend enough heads-up time on what is coming so we can be the most effective in helping student reach their non-churched friends. After all, who really wants to throw an event that is not going to worth it for your students, leaders, and you as the leader? I know I don’t.
So make sure you nail #1 so you can get #2. And watch the difference.