As I write down these thoughts, I’m neck-deep in preparations for our annual state Youth Convention. A few thousand teenagers will descend upon Syracuse in a couple months, all with the hopes of having a wonderful weekend. There will be over 150 people working behind the scenes to make that hope a reality.

I know I’ve done a good job planning when I’m not running around at Convention like the proverbial headless chicken. My goal is to work hard enough and plan smart enough that I can actually enjoy the weekend, attentively host the speaker and spend time in meaningful conversation with other leaders.

Here’s five ways to think as you plan events:

Think Big
Communicate the big picture…what’s the vision? What’s the purpose of the event? Communicate it often. Often we get so drawn into the details that we can’t see the forest for the trees. A well-run event without a clear purpose is a shell of what it should be.

Think Long
How can you leverage the event to create long-term impact? That may mean reevaluating the components, the emphasis and/or the budget allocations of the event. It has to be more than an event; think sustainable and transferable. How is your event helping the local church make disciples?

Think Team
The #1 key to pulling off events? Get the right people in the right place. Surround yourself with people who are strong where you are weak and who are proven leaders. One other key: surround yourself with people who will buffer you from onsite drama and not create or exacerbate it.

Think Lists
I’m not a list maker. But at event time I depend on them. Create checklists, timelines and systems to both serve the event and make it sustainable in the future. If I’m not here next year, a team should be able to take my lists and run it.

Think Thanks
Thank your team before, during and afterwards. A handwritten note, public recognition, a pat on the back in the midst of the event, a small gift, etc… Those things make a difference. Be gracious. Be grateful. You haven’t done it alone!

David Hertweck served as senior associate pastor of Trinity A/G in Clay, NY for over eleven years. He served as the lead pastor of inside-out student ministries and element young adults ministries and as a worship leader. He is an ordained Assembly of God minister. He presently serves as the District Youth Ministries and Chi Alpha Director. He’s also the author of The Word: a 31 day devotional… buy one and make as many copies as you want.