Our church does a few annual “Big Days” or special events.
We begin the fall season with an “Open House Sunday & Chili Cook-Off”. This is our “kickoff” to the new season. We invite our friends and family and announce the event everywhere we can. People can take special invitations to give out with all the details on them. This is the Sunday we announce our Care Groups and begin our Children’s Ministry. People prepare their favorite chili’s and people get to try all of them and vote on the one they like the best. A silly prize is given out.
Christmas Eve is one of the common ones among many of us. We usually have a full house as we celebrate with the Christmas story and carols. We’ve had hot apple cider for after which has gone over very well.
We always try to make the Sunday before Family Day a big event. We again prepare invitations for people to hand out. The day begins with a pancake breakfast – actually this year it was waffles and sausages. And we always have some kind of fun activity to do together. We have played “Name that Tune”. This last time we moved chairs to the side and played some “Sunday School Picnic” type of games before we had an abbreviated service.
Our Easter Eggstravaganza takes place at the community hall. This has been a big hit for our community. We have had up to 250 people and we usually average 60 at our regular services! Again, we give out invitations, have a few fun activities, offer free family pictures by a local photographer, and have activities on the tables. We do a breakfast, an Easter service, and then the Easter Egg hunt for the kids.
While we do other things, these are a couple of our big ones. And we try our best to plan them well!! I’ve developed a checklist template that guides our planning.
How to plan a Big Day well:
- Special Day Details: Event ____________/ Date _____________/ Time ______________
- Purpose: Why are we doing this? We need to be clear of why we are doing the event and what we are hoping to accomplish.
- Food: Food – usually there is food. What will it be? Who will prepare it? Who will buy it? Will it be served? etc.
- Service: What will the church service look like? Will kids be part of it? Will the sermon address a related theme to the special day? Will there be testimonies? What about special music or scripture readings? Any video clips? How will the Gospel be presented? How will a “decision” be asked for? How will people be invited back to regular services or church activities?
- Activity Details: What will the activity be with this Big Day? Who will plan it? Who will run it? Where can we do it? Is there any special planning needed?
- Promotion/ Publicity: Are posters being printed? Where will they go? Who will put them up? Are invitations being printed? Will they be ready at least 3 Sundays before the event so they can be handed out to the congregation for them to use? Any advertising in the local paper? What about a sandwich board in front of the church? Can we send some papers home through the local school?
- Set up/Take down: What tables and chairs need to be put up? Who will do that? Who will put them away? Are there decorations to put up? Who can do that?
- Take Home: What will people take home? It’s always good to send people home with something. A Bible? A little gift? A Jesus DVD?
- Contact Information: How will we gather information from new people who attend? One thing that we have used quite often has been a Connection Card where we ask them to fill out their information and leave it on the tables. Or you can have a “Guess how many Jelly Beans” Jar and ask them to fill out their information along with their guess as to how many candies in the jar. Remember to give the candies out to the closest guess.
- Prayer Plan: How will the church be praying for this event? What prayer reminder can you give people? I’m thinking of giving everyone a Chili Bean in September to remind them to pray for our Open House and Chili Cook-off event.
- Photography: Is anyone going to take pictures for later? Who? How will they be stored? Who will get them onto the church website and Facebook page?
- Budget: It’s a good idea to build a little budget before the event so you can plan your spending. Remember that you can always bring some money back in through charging a little – if appropriate – or through asking for church or community sponsors. We’ve had different opportunities to partner with community groups who like certain events we are doing and they are willing to help support them
- Celebrate: How will you thank your people afterward for all their prayer and invitations and hard work? How will you let people know what actually took place? How many new people? How many new conversions?
I hope you have many great events, events that are fun, that bring friends out, and invite those present into a relationship with Jesus!