Hosting events at your church can be a great way to serve your community, strengthen relationships and build momentum for growth. However, planning those events can drain staff and volunteers.

Here are seven key tasks that you can't afford to miss as you plan the next event for your church.

1. Find out if the annual budget includes this event

If the event is included in the budget, get the budget information before planning begins. If not, you may need to decide if this event can occur or if you can get budget money allocated for it.

2. Assign one person to be the event planner

This could be the leader over the ministry area hosting the event, an administrative assistant or a staff member dedicated to event planning for the church. The main goal is to have one person overseeing all the details for the event. That way, you're less likely to have something overlooked or miscommunication issues.

3. Know exactly why you’re hosting this event

Even if your church has hosted this event for the last 20 years, you still need to clearly articulate why this event is important.

  • What aspect of your church's vision/mission does this event support?
  • Who are you trying to reach with this event, and how does this event accomplish that goal?

Document the reasons why you're doing this event, and make sure each member of the planning team understands them. This will impact how they make decisions along the way, so "why" is an important factor to communicate.

4. Give creative team members sufficient time to work

You'll likely need stage design, décor, graphics, video announcements and more to support the event.

Get your décor and communications team members involved in the planning process from the beginning. They need to know why you're doing this event, who you're trying to reach, along with the mood and environment you want to create at the event to do their best work.

Give them time to brainstorm ideas, provide you with a few options to get your feedback and create a final product. Don't expect someone to create a webpage and a few graphics for the event in a day or two. Get them involved early, and provide time for the creative process. You'll be happier with the results, and they'll appreciate you respecting their time and talent.

5. Train event volunteers

Do not expect volunteers to just figure it out on event day. Conduct a training session the week before the event, hand out "cheat sheets" to volunteers that include brief instructions, a bullet point list of what you need them to do and FAQs to help them answer questions from attendees. Reiterate these instructions in a brief meeting before the event starts.

When your volunteers are well informed and know what you need from them, they'll be more confident in their roles and will be able to better serve attendees.

6. Celebrate after the event

Bring in donuts or lunch and celebrate with your team the week after the event. Share testimonies and comments from attendees, thank your team members, and make sure they know how their efforts made a difference in people's lives.

7. Conduct a lessons learned session

Pull the planning team together within a week after the event and ask two questions:

  • What went well that we should continue for future events?
  • What do we need to improve for the next event?

Document their responses and review them before you start planning the next event. Your team will learn something new every time you host another event. Don't lose those lessons learned — get them from your team, and make sure you use them going forward.

Planning events doesn't have to be stressful. Keep these key tasks in mind as you plan the next event at your church.