Summer is winding down, and with the start of fall comes a plethora of church events. As you plan for fall festivals, outreaches, and Christmas plays, make sure your to-do lists include consideration of these easy-to-forget items.

1. Traffic flow

Depending on how many attendees you anticipate hosting and the roads around your facility, consider whether you need to coordinate with local police for road closures.

This may require a permit application process, so check the timing involved in submitting and receiving approval on those permits for your area. Also, consider requesting officers to direct traffic before and after the event.

2. Parking

With all the people you plan to have on your church campus, you’ll likely have parking issues. If you expect that the need for parking will exceed the number of spaces you have available, talk with local businesses or property owners about possibly using their parking lots during the event.

3. People flow

When you have a large number of people at an event, you need to help them know where to go for various aspects of the day. Use barricades, form lines like they do at amusement parks, and post volunteers at line entry/exit points to help people know where to head next.

4. Security and emergency preparedness

We’d rather not think about such things, but it’s possible you’ll experience some type of emergency situation at the event. This could involve inclement weather, an attendee needing emergency medical care, or someone becoming violent.

Develop a plan for how to handle various types of emergency situations. Review emergency evacuation procedures or shelter-in-place plans and update as needed.

Communicate emergency plans to all staff members and key volunteer leaders. Provide additional training to the security team members who’ll be on-hand at the event.

5. Develop a detailed timeline

Create a schedule that is literally a minute-by-minute timeline of what will happen when and where during the event. Distribute this schedule to staff and key volunteers so they’re well-informed.

6. Communication to staff and volunteers

The weeks before a big event tend to be packed with handling last-minute details. You’re making changes, updating timelines, and finalizing a few decisions.

Before you send out the minute-by-minute schedule, instructions for volunteers, or other mass communications, make sure what you send is consistent to all staff and volunteers.

Send the same details in emails, review the information during staff/volunteer meetings, and provide those same details on cheat sheets you hand out the day of the event. This will prevent confusion and conflicting information.

7. Keep it clean

Something that’s easy to forget about during the planning process is keeping the restrooms clean. This may seem like a little detail, but it makes a big impression (positive or negative, depending on how you handle it).

Assign a volunteer team to keep the bathrooms clean and fully stocked. If you have two or three times the number of people attending this event than you see in a typical service, you’re going to have more traffic in the restrooms and they’ll need more attention than usual.

Big events can be incredible opportunities to share the Gospel and serve the community.

As you make your plans, think through these items, talk with your team, document your decisions, and communicate more than you think is necessary (because it probably is). By taking the time now to consider and plan for these areas, you and your attendees will have a better experience at the event.