Most churches offer a variety of special events throughout the year. From couples' retreats to junior high lock-ins, these events require significant effort to pull off with excellence.

Unfortunately, what should be a fun and impactful event often wears out staff and volunteers from all the last-minute chaos. So, how do we avoid the craziness and actually get to enjoy the fruits of our labor? Here are a few key tips:

Tip 1: Schedule events on your annual calendar

If you don't already, create a church calendar that includes weekly services and special events. This should be a one-stop shop for your team to know what's coming up for this year.

As you put events on the calendar, watch out for having too many significant events occurring in a short timespan. If you have a ladies' brunch, back-to-school bash and men's retreat all in the same month, you might want to reconsider that scheduling.

You don't have to overbook your staff and volunteers. As church leaders, you need to consider the workload you're asking people to take on with these efforts. Use wisdom and only schedule what you think your team can reasonably handle with excellence. Also, build in some margin to allow for the unexpected.

Tip 2: Start planning the event ASAP

The larger the event, the longer the planning cycle. If you're bringing in a guest speaker, booking a worship band and redecorating the sanctuary, you should probably start planning 8-12 months in advance.

Here are a few key items to consider as you plan:

  • Event schedule: Create a minute-by-minute schedule of what will happen during the event. You'll want to provide this document to staff members and volunteer leaders so they can help you keep things on track the day of the event.
  • Invitation: How are you letting your congregation and your community know about this event? Are you making announcements from the stage, sending out emails, posting on social media and/or putting up billboards? Plan how and when to get the word out about the event.
  • Volunteers: How many will you need and in what roles? Recruit and communicate with them early.

Tip 3: Build a team

You don't have to be "super staff member" and plan this whole thing by yourself. Pull a team together, using the unique skills each person has to make this event a success.

Schedule a team meeting to introduce them to the vision for this event and assign roles for each person. Give each team member specific areas of responsibility and document what tasks they need to perform.

Meet on a regular basis to get updates, answer questions and resolve issues. Work together to make this a great experience for everyone involved.

Events don't have to be stressful and hectic. Planning and hosting an event can be a team-building, fun endeavor for your staff and volunteers. If you'll make the investment upfront to plan ahead and build a great team, you can actually enjoy the event along with the attendees.