Special events can be productive and beneficial to your church. Community service projects, youth camps, couples retreats and more may be a core part of your church's annual calendar.

However, if you're running the same events year after year, it might be time to step back and evaluate your events.

At first glance, each event may seem successful for the sole reason that people keep attending. But do you know why you hold these events? You knew when you first started them, but are those reasons still valid?

Have you examined each event to decide if you should continue them the next year? Do you have specific, measureable goals for each event? Are those goals written down and well-known among your staff and volunteers?

If not, I challenge you to use the following questions with your staff and key volunteers to evaluate each event as you plan the upcoming monthly, quarterly or yearly schedule.

    1. What are the goals of this event? What are the desired outcomes — a certain amount of money raised, number of people participating, etc.?

    2. Have we met our goals with this event the last 2-3 years? Why or why not? Based on the answers, what (if anything) should we change to make the event more successful?

    3. Does this event cause our staff and/or volunteers to be exhausted and frustrated? Why or why not?

    4. Are there other events we're not doing because of our existing event schedule? If so, should we add that event to the schedule or replace an existing event?

    5. Are we doing this event "because that's what we've always done" or because it truly benefits our congregation?

As you start asking these questions, be prepared to hear things you may not like. You may have had the idea to start one of these events and feel an emotional attachment to something you're now hearing has outlived its usefulness. It can hurt to let go of an event but that might be what's in the best interest of your church.

You may still do all of the same events, make a few changes, eliminate and/or replace events. There's no perfect, right answer here.

Just don't do the same things each year simply because that's what you've always done. Do what makes sense for your community and what aligns with the vision of your church.

Yes, that can be more work. Yes, it can be difficult to remove an event. However, the payoff could be an updated schedule that propels your church into a new season of growth that increases the impact of your ministry.

That kind of outcome is certainly worth the temporary discomfort of asking difficult questions.