There is so much to learn about coordinating an event. We recently had a one day women’s event called “Delight” and wanted to share what we learned through the journey and provide any resources others could use as well. Feel free to comment or ask any questions because as I mentioned, we’re all in this together.
MEET WITH A CORE TEAM
You need to identify and meet with a few core team members who can advise you on the vision and implementation of your event. This could be someone from your existing team or on your staff. It could be the elders or a group of advisors. Whoever it is, they should be people who get the culture, mission and values of your church. You can bounce ideas off of them like the theme and speakers you have in mind. This is important in the early stages of planning so that you can get buy in from some key players as well as gain some valuable input from people you deeply trust. They may not have the time or energy to implement the details but they can be vital in providing wise direction. For our event, I invited 2 of our guest speakers who are also part of our management team.
CHOOSE A THEME
Coming up with a theme of a retreat or an event can be a lengthy process. For us, we began about 10 months prior to the event. First, spend some time praying and seeking God to direct you in the right way. Then, think about some of the different needs or challenges the people are facing in your community. Finally, with your core team, explore some possible options based on spending time in the scriptures and your conversations with others. The verse Zephaniah 3:17 was personally resonating in my heart and when I shared this with our core team, one person mentioned that the word “Delight” spoke to them. It’s pretty amazing how God brings insight and illumination when we spend time in His word and in dialogue with others. From there, we began to break down the passage and explore how we can go deeper into each sentence throughout the entire event. After choosing the theme, we began to pore through different graphics and landed on a picture of baby breaths that we purchased from istockphoto.com. Here is the graphic below.
ASSEMBLE A DREAM TEAM
When you bring your team together, think of the best people for the different roles. Sometimes, we can go with the attitude of just being “good enough” when it comes to the church. There is a difference between excellence and perfectionism and I think God desires for us to be excellent in all that we do. Not for the sake of excellence but to further His mission and to glorify Him. I never understood why some would pursue excellence in the corporate world but we excuse mediocrity in the church as something spiritual. I believe God is in the planning if we invite Him in and if we can be spirit led in pursuing excellence.
So, when we were looking for our dream team, we went ahead and asked people who we thought were best at what they do. We knew their skills and strengths. They stepped up to the plate and each of them knocked it out of the park. For example, we have a volunteer named Tina who is amazing at executing the perfect design for our events. I had worked with her in the past and she is able to turn a vision into reality. You can view some of the work she did with a limited budget and repurposing what we already have.
CREATE A GREAT PROGRAM
The program is really the heart and meat of your event. You can have great promotion and fanfare but without solid content, it will feel a bit empty. What we set out to do was find the best speakers for our event. As I mentioned before, we asked two of our staff members who not only have an amazing heart but are visible and are excellent communicators. We were confident that their stories and message would connect with our audience. Furthermore, we invited 2 others guest speakers from a sister church who are part of the teaching team at their church. One of them had spoken at our women’s retreat the previous year and was very well received. We also asked a gifted female worship leader who brought her own band and did an amazing job. (Something to note is that we make it a priority to really appreciate our guest speakers and band with an honorarium, lunch, refreshments and a private space.) In addition to inviting great speakers and a band, we also look at other elements in the program to create a memorable experience. We had an amazing host that was both funny and engaging along with some humorous and inspirational videos in between the sessions. You can view some of the videos we used below.
INVITE PEOPLE TO SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT
Don’t just promote and market an event but invite your people to something that matters and is of importance to their current life situation. Whether it’s an encouragement from the stage or through a video, we need to communicate the value of the gathering. People are making a financial and time sacrifice to be at the event. We must ensure that their money and time was not wasted but was an investment for the growth and health of their relationship with God and others. Through our announcements from stage, our video, social media and most importantly the personal invite to our circle of friends, we wanted to communicate the same message. You can check out our webpage and our video below. discoverychurch.com/delight