Have you ever stopped to consider the very real ministry benefits that come with intentional church event planning?
Find out how you can do more with your church event planning to set yourself up for success…
Church Event Planning: Before The Event
Church event planning is pretty self-explanatory. Many churches are well-versed in planning events before-hand. But there are a few things you can do to boost your pre-event promotion.
Cast the vision of the event from a leader on stage first. When the vision for an event is cast by a leader first, congregations tend to buy-in quicker. They trust the source it’s coming from. In an unspoken way, it shows the church that the event has the full backing of the leadership.
From there we have the typical promotion outlets like social media…but don’t stop at a pretty graphic with the date and time. Facebook LIVE for your church is a huge asset to promote events.
Some ideas for Facebook LIVE include:
Getting input from the streaming audience on what should be at the event
Go live to show the event preparation and generate excitement – behind the scenes stuff
Show the people who plan and make the events possible
Going live will show the effort that goes into the event, the fun that occurs, and the intentionality of every part of the event.
Other promotional outlets include email, bulletin announcements, small group announcements, etc. Just be sure to avoid copy-pasting the same announcements across platforms. Use the bulletin to share the details, but use email to share the stories of the people that have gone to the event in the past. Or use your stage announcement to share the “why” of the event and use small groups to distribute flyers with details.
Remember, the key to great church announcements is to inspire more than you inform.
Church Event Planning: During The Event
No this isn’t a mistake…your church event planning doesn’t end when the event starts.
The “story” doesn’t end when the event kicks off…so you should continue sharing your event and special moments while it’s happening.
Share pictures on your church social media. Share stories over email. Use more video and live streaming for people who aren’t at the event to get a snapshot of what’s happening. The people who can’t come this year will remember these things when next year comes around.
One thing you’ll want to use to make this easier to build a church photography team or “street team.” This is a group of designated people who will take pictures and video for you…then you can have multiple shots and angles of the event. You don’t even need to get people to commit to being an event photographer. Just ask them to take pictures for you while they are enjoying and participating in the event.
A great app for your street team is Church Snap. Multiple people can use the app and all the photos get added into one place in the cloud for you to download.
When you are collecting photos and videos, don’t spam your Instagram or Facebook wall with a hundred posts a day. Collect your footage and post to one or two posts a day. Otherwise, you risk “taking over” your audience’s feed and you’ll annoy them more than inspiring them.
Church Event Planning: After The Event
Even though the event is passed, your planning isn’t over yet (if you want to help future-you).
After the event is over, archive the footage you collected. Grab memory cards, your church social media posts, emails, blogs, and other church content and visit your church member’s social media pages and see if they posted their own photos/videos of your event. Ask them for a copy of their media and you’ll grow your church event media library even more.
File your media away in an intentional place that is easy to find in the future. There’s nothing worse than knowing you put Easter pictures somewhere but you can’t remember where.
As far as storing your media, we prefer getting an on-site network solution. You can use something like a DROBO network storage device to store your media. It uses multiple hard drives so you can have redundant storage of your media, slowly grow it over time, and make it available on your network for your staff to add to or pull resources off of.
If you really want to take your media game up a level, use Adobe Media Browser to tag and sort your media on the network storage. You’ll be able to quickly find any media based on searching for tags or qualifications.
If that’s too expensive for your media budget (we get it), you can use Google Photos or other cloud-storage to store your media and make it accessible to your staff.
Don’t forget after the event to get testimonies (video-preferred). These testimonies can play for up to a month after the event while still being relevant and encouraging to the congregation, especially if anyone gave substantially to fund the event. Then the following year you can use those videos for promotion.
After your event, make sure you do an “after action report” with your staff. This is just a quick meeting with your team and the leaders of the event to ask the following questions:
What went well?
Did anything not go according to plan?
What can you change next year to make it more successful?
You’ll also want to elect a few congregation members and ask them how the promotion went…did the event meet their expectations? Or were they surprised when something that was promised didn’t show up? Or did they hear about the event from someone else instead of one of your communications channels?
You don’t have to make a survey for the whole congregation, just pick a few select people that match the demographic the event was made for and see how your promotion stacked up to their experience.
Church event planning doesn’t happen overnight. Using our 2018 Church Event Planning Checklist, you’ll be able to organize your preparation and know what beats to hit before, during, and after your event.
Before your event, focus on promotion. Start with an announcement from the stage by a leader. Use social media videos to share the event but do it intentionally focusing on using videos, don’t rely on pretty graphics.
During your event, use attendees or a street team to gather photos, videos, and stories of what’s happening. Post to social, send emails, and share what’s going on during the event.
After your event, intentionally archive all media from the event. File away photos and videos, and gather everything from members of your church and volunteers. Place it in a secure location that’s accessible to other staff that will also be reliable to get access to next year. And follow up with the event leaders and members of the congregation to find out how you can do better next year.
Whew! If that seemed like a lot, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Simply download our checklist below and you’ll have a reference guide for each event you plan!
How will this change your church event planning this year? Let us know in the comments below!
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