We just wrapped up our 10th The Call here at Nags Head Church. With that in mind and after a super long weekend here are a few thoughts I have about planning an event.
>Establish the purpose
>Make sure the theme fits the purpose
>Acquire a speaker(s) and a band. Lots out there but remember if you want to make it a "big" event it may take a "big" name which leads to the next one:
>Establish a budget. We have pulled off The Call in the past for as little at $1500 and as much as $7,000 depending on the band and guest speaker(s) we have used.
>Decide on a registration fee (if having one. I divide the budget by the attendance goal to come up with the registration fee. It's not rocket science and it is also a risk).
>Have a plan if registrations don't meet the budget.
>Publicity - use the web, Facebook, Constant Contact, e-mail. (never mail things to the youth director "care of the pastor" because more than likely it will sit on the pastor's desk or get thrown out or passed on too late)
>Publicize in advance. We start promoting The Call in April usually and the event isn't until February. I get invites to youth events often and with little to no notice.
>Recruit a team of volunteers from your church. Decide what you need. At The Call we had folks doing registration/check in, refreshments, clean up, tech stuffs. We could not pull off The Call each year if it were not for our team of volunteers from the church. Awesome people make and awesome event.
>Keep records. We use an excel spreadsheet to track expenses and registrations of both individuals and churches.
>A quality event requires months of prep and publicity.
>Be prepared to be wiped out and tired after the event is over. (last week I put in almost 60 hours at work. Our band put in many hours as well. It's normal to be tired after a big event so plan on getting some rest. I'm taking an extra day off this week to rest and spend time with my family.)
The only event we currently invite other youth groups to participate with us is The Call. Keep in mind that youth pastors who plan ahead will often have months if not the year completely planned out. We try to limit our youth group events outside of youth group to one or less a month. Kids' lives are plenty busy today. I don't want to be a "cruise director" I want to be part of something that is making an impact on students' lives.
Several students came to know Christ this weekend and many were equipped to defend their faith. The Call was well worth the effort.