Photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters
Last year’s youth conference was a bomb! All the tickets were sold out. The preachings were great and you saw lives touched and changed. You even saw Gary “The Black Sheep” cry! The same boy who was often dragged by her mother to Church is now a regular at Sunday service. He even volunteered to teach children about God. And if that’s not a success for you, I don’t know what is.
Everything was great not until you went through the evaluation. You found out that a lot of things were overlooked. There was a shortage of food. The banner was not put up. The decorations were a little bit off. And to make matters worse, a set of speakers malfunctioned during the event and many participants didn’t hear the message well enough.
You looked at the faces of the volunteers, especially the leaders and you saw how exhausted they were. One of the things they said was: “Thank God it went fine. We were panicking the whole time. We thought that we had it all figured out but it turns out that we forgot to bring a lot of things. Great to hear that the youth enjoyed it because we were definitely stressed. I didn’t even have the time to drink coffee.”
As the event organizer, you feel that you failed. You want to motivate them but you can’t because you feel the same way. All you feel is being burnt out. And you just found out that the couple’s retreat will be next month!
- Your cheat guide: church event planning checklist
- Basic elements of church event planning checklist
- Detailed checklist with each corresponding timeline
- Make event registration for your church easier to do!
Your cheat guide: church event planning checklist
But that was before. Now, everything is WAY different. You just organized a young single adult convention and it was AMAZING. Everything was well planned. All the equipment worked perfectly. The team was praised by the speakers for the well-efforted tokens. The participants enjoyed the food. The venue was amazing.
You just had an incredible time during worship and the messages were absolutely life-changing. How did you know? You knew because you actually had the TIME to join and listen. You had time in your hands to sit and enjoy the event. And when you look at the faces of the volunteers, you see the same joy and fulfillment you have.
And what made the difference? Simple. You now have your ultimate cheat guide, your own customized event planning checklist. You can’t possibly forget something now that you have a thorough list.
Basic elements of church event planning checklist
Though checklists vary from one church event to another, all have these in common. Follow this guide and you can customize your church event planning checklist along the way.
1. Goals for your church event and possible date
The very first thing to consider is the purpose of the event. What does the congregation need today? Is the event exclusive for fellowship purposes alone? Or are you aiming to do community outreach? I know you are so excited to plan the event activities but first, you still need to know the “why.”
The specific goals will determine how the other aspects will look like. After that, set up a tentative date. Take note of the holidays. The venue, services, and equipment may cost more during peak seasons.
2. The venue, equipment/resources, speakers, or performers
After defining the event goals and setting the possible date, you then need to identify the things needed and the speakers or performers you want to invite for the church event. When picking the venue, consider the number of participants and the activities. For example, for summer camps, nature reserves are great options since you’ll be doing some outdoor activities.
List all equipment that will be used and contact speakers and performers. It’s better to get the confirmations as early as possible.
Now that you have cost estimates, set up the budget. Anyone who has done budgeting before knows this might be quite stressful especially if you are financially restrained. However, always take into account possible sponsors.
You know that the church is always generous in supporting great causes.
4. Theme, program flow, and activities
Setting up the theme is one of the most enjoyable parts of the event planning process. Here, your creativity works best. Research on themes that are trendy yet relevant to the purpose of the event. There are a lot of church event ideas on the net. You just need to do a little bit of research.
One example that we tried in the past is “Family Movie Night.” This is a great way to reach out and connect to the community. You can get to know the people and build relationships with them while introducing them to the church family.
When writing the program, be as detailed as possible. Plan for activities that will encourage participants to engage and interact. We found out that a simple rock-paper-scissors game can effectively break the ice.
5. Sign up for volunteers and delegate working committees
The church is first and foremost a family and a team that works together. Encourage the congregation to engage and participate. Rally up the volunteers and encourage them to join committees that play on their strengths. Some of the committees needed are: the
– Production team
– Program committee
– Financial team
– Management team
– Registration and advertising committee.
6. Church marketing and event registration
A well-planned church event cannot have the impact that you want without anyone knowing about it. We don’t want Mrs. Petterson to miss the annual gala she really enjoys. There are a lot of marketing strategies out there and it can be overwhelming. You just need to pick what works out best for you and for your participants.
You need to consider the church event type, how big the event would be, and your target participants. For a marriage preparation retreat aimed for the engaged couples in your own church, for example, this doesn’t require big marketing and advertising plans. Most retreats like these are small and intimate.
You can simply post announcements on your church bulletin board or on your WordPress website. You can even announce it during weekly service at your church to build anticipation and to remind them constantly. For bigger events, like community outreach, you can use flyers or personal invitation cards.
This is a generic template for your church event planning checklist but you can also customize it according to the different timelines of your church event.
Detailed checklist with each corresponding timeline
Part 1. Pre-event planning (4 – 6 months before the event)
Normally, a big event is planned 6 months in advance. Below are the things you need to consider for your pre-event planning.
☐ Goal and theme setting:
- What does the event aim to achieve? Is it for raising funds? Will it be a conference for young people? Be specific as possible
- Decide on an initial event theme
☐ Set the date and possible venue for the event
- How long will the event take place? (A conference can take more than a day)
- Scout for possible locations
- Who would be your participants? Will they be young people? Couple? Young Professionals?
- How many are expected to attend?
☐ Delegate and assign working committees/volunteers
☐ Formulate the event design
- What’s the program flow/itinerary?
- What’s the seating arrangement?
- Identify and contact speakers (preachers) / worship team / sponsors
- Set security plans or need for permits
- Identify the equipment needed, food that will be served
- From the cost estimates, create a budget plan
☐ Event Registration
- Is this paid or sponsored?
- Set up event registration and fee
☐ Publicity and promotion
Part 2. Final stages of pre-event planning (1 week – 2 months before)
☐ Venue and logistics
- Finalize all details with the venue, equipment, food preparations, source materials, permits
- Review security plans and proofread written materials
☐ Speakers (preachers) / worship team / sponsors
- Finalize presentation/topics
- Travel and accommodations for speakers/performers
- Finalize sponsorship details and amount
☐ Reminders and confirmation
- Set reminders for participants and speakers
- Confirmations for sponsors and speakers
☐ Maximize publicity
Part 3. During the event: This is it!
☐ Working Committee
- Make sure to check on the committee and ministry heads for updates and possible problems
☐ Event check-in
☐ Venue and equipment final check
☐ Final walkthrough of the program
☐ Enjoy the event! You deserve it.
Part 4: Post-event follow up and assessment
☐ Assessment from the team
☐ Speakers (preachers) / worship team / sponsors
- Be sure to send your token of gratitude
- Send out promised resources if there are
☐ Budget / Funds raised
☐ Continue with your post-marketing plans
Make event registration for your church easier to do!
Planning a church event is just a piece of the whole pie. Registration and payment collection are one of the most laborious tasks in an event. They take a lot of time and effort. And it can be stressful if you don’t have the right tools. Here at Event Espresso we help you make your registration process easier and hassle-free. From collecting registration data, payments, and managing the ticketing process, Event Espresso does it all for you.
Try a free demo now to see how Event Espresso can help make your next church event a success!