We have all put on an event for our student ministry that was a total flop.
We have all put on an event that was a total hit and students loved it.
Have you ever thought of what the difference was between them? Why one worked and one didn’t? All last year we started to be really intentional about the events we put on for our students. Here are some of the things we noticed that made a big difference.
1. Don’t just do it to do it – One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to put on an event just to put it on. We need to have a destination for the event. What is the end goal for your students when the event is over? When we put an event together, it falls in the category of evangelism—one of our church’s core values. We want to put on events in which the goal would be for our students to invite their friends who normally do not go to church. We want them to come, have fun, interact with us, and come back. It’s a great first step. Have an end goal for the event.
2. Make sure it’s not in vain – You might like the event, but your students might not. Sometimes we plan events because we like them, not because our students like them. We don’t do it intentionally. I know I like to have some passion behind the things I plan, but we defeat the purpose if our students are not all about it. I sat down with our student leadership team and reviewed this last year. They gave me the rundown of the events they loved and the ones I loved but they did not. You bet we won’t be doing some of them next year.
3. Get your leaders involved – Believe it or not, your leaders want to help. You might feel like you need to do everything because everything needs to be just right, but when your leaders get involved they can take ownership and take it to the next level. One, you won’t have to do everything. Two, when you give away authority you create more buy-in from your leaders. Three, it gives your leaders opportunities to interact with students in different ways.
4. Promote, promote, promote – This might seem like a no-brainer, but even though you could talk until you’re blue in the face about an event, students don’t always see it or pay attention to it. The info does not always get home to parents. For any event we do, we have a plan for a month out, for the weeks leading up, for the week of the event, and for the day of the event.
- Month out: post on social media and mention in service
- Weeks out: two posts a week on social media and mention in service
- Week of event: mention in service with some sort of bit or video to promote it, post every day from Sunday to Wednesday, and send an email to parents letting them know details and when it will end
- Day of event: post right after school gets out, post an hour before students get to campus
5. Keep it short – There is nothing worse than an event that should have ended 30 minutes ago. We all have been to an event or wedding or something where the momentum just died or ran out. I always love ending events on a high note and leave them wanting more. I think it’s okay to keep it short and have them think, “Man, that was so much fun, I didn’t want it to end” rather than thinking, “Okay that was great but when is it over?” You want to let them go home on a high note.
Typically when we do an event after our service, we end service at 8:30-45 and the event will stop at 9:30 sharp. Seems like that is a sweet spot for us and always ends on that high note.
6. Capture it – If it is a recurring event, make sure you grab video or pictures. One of the best ways to promote events is to show them what it was like last time so they can get excited. Plus, they love to see themselves on the screen. If you give them an idea in the video of what they will experience, they will be able to share it with friends.
What else would you add for successful events?