by Amanda Brady
Children’s Pastor, Amanda Brady is a guest writer for INCM.
It’s already October! Where has the year gone? Kids have gone back to school. We have made it past promotion weekend and getting all of the kids into their new rooms. We have chosen our curriculum for the year and we have our volunteers in place. Now its time to start thinking about the fun stuff! Special events are a huge part of most children’s ministries. These events give our kids an opportunity to invite their friends to church. It is a chance for us to welcome people who may never come to our church for a regular service. Some people may be too intimidated to attend a church service on the weekend, but they will come to a concert or carnival for their kids or family. What things do you need to consider when planning a special event? What is essential for the event to be a success? I had the chance to talk with Jamie Statema from Go Fish about special events. Below is a checklist of things for consideration when planning your events.
• Keep special events in perspective. They are fun, can draw a crowd and give you the chance to introduce people to your church and to Jesus. But, he reminds us that these events only last for a day and then they are gone. What is more important is what you are doing on a consistent basis-the things you are doing weekly to reach out and teach about Jesus.
• Have a clear understanding of the event. Who is your audience and what is your purpose? Is this event for kids or is it for families? If it is a family event, don’t make it only fun for the kids. How is this event going to appeal to the parents? When planning a family event ask yourself would my spouse want to come to this event and if so, why?
• Make sure your event is well defined. Why are you doing this event? What is your goal or desired outcome? Having clear answers to these questions will help you to determine the content and ensure that the activities are leading you to that goal. Jamie also encourages leaders that if they plan to book a big name act or event not to become intimidated by booking agents and managers. You are in charge of your event. Make sure you understand and agree with what will take place at your event. Promote your event, as it is essential to the success of your event. Likewise, follow up is just as important. How will you invite them back?
• Work within your means. Think about the resources that you already have or events that are already in place and maximize your efforts. For example, if your church does VBS, it would be easy to use that existing event to change things up to make it feel big or different. Also, make sure you clearly communicate with other church members and get them engaged in the event. If you can get 100 families all committed to the point that they are willing to invite 5 families to the event, think about the impact! In order to do so make sure they understand the purpose of the event.
• Don’t miss opportunities to reach out and to share the gospel. Teach them the truth. Shoot straight with people and trust the gospel to do the work. Don’t water down your message just because it is a fun event. As kids come and are changed then they go home and tell their families and bring them along. We can help them to do this by sending home resources to share with their families – music, activities, etc.
• Remember that more does not always mean better. Don’t overload the event so much that those attending become overwhelmed or not enough so they get bored with the event before the end. It is much better to do an event that is great for one hour than to do a three-hour event that is only mediocre.
Finally, Jamie reminds leaders not to expect one event to change everything and not to forget what is most important. Special events are fun and an opportunity to introduce people to the gospel. But the bottom line is that kids don’t need rock stars. They need someone who is consistent and willing to invest in them and share the gospel with them every week. So, figure out how you will continue what you start during your event and continue to invest in their lives.