5 Reasons Why Planning is Vital for Successful Events

What events are coming up at your church in the next few months?

Back-to-School kickoff, Small Group launch, Thanksgiving Outreach, Christmas plays, and more?

Are you ready for those events or are you feeling a bit stressed at the moment?

The first step for any plans you may develop, whether it’s the strategic vision for your church or a special event, must include seeking God’s direction.

From there, we should develop plans to carry out the vision we believe God has given to us.

So, if planning is such a big deal what happens if we don’t plan?

What if we wing it or throw together a to-do list at the last minute?

While that can sometimes work, here are five reasons why planning is a better choice:

#1 – Planning enables you to fully carry out your pastor’s vision

Let’s say your pastor wants to kick-off a new small group ministry. He’s mentioned it a few times, but there’s a lot of other stuff going on so until he starts really pushing for it no one does much about it.

Well, it’s getting close to back-to-school season and that happens to be a logical time to start small groups.

All of the sudden, it’s go time.

You throw together a video announcement, a few social media updates, and scramble to find people interested in leading a small group.

You’re able to pull it off but it’s nowhere near what your pastor had envisioned.

If your pastor had mentioned this during an annual visioning/planning session and you’d started planning months in advance, you would’ve had time to:

  • Brainstorm several ideas for promoting small groups
  • Coordinate with your pastor so his sermons leading up to the launch would include encouraging people to get involved in a small group
  • Contact several potential small group leaders and host a meeting or two with them to ensure they’re prepared to launch groups
  • and much more

#2 – Planning helps you get and keep volunteers

Volunteers have day jobs and family commitments. Many are happy to serve at their church but need some advanced notice to coordinate their schedules.

If you’re scrambling around the week before a big Saturday event to get more volunteers, you’re going to have a rough week.

Sure, you’ll find some people who’re able to make it work. However, that’ll be the exception rather than the rule PLUS you’ve just shown a lack of respect for their time by asking them to drop everything at the last minute.

If you do this too often, you may have a hard time getting volunteers to serve again.

However, if you’re planning a September event in May you’ll have time to:

  • Determine how many volunteers you need and in what roles
  • Identify who you’d like to invite to serve in each role, starting in June or July
  • At least leave a voicemail or send an email even if you miss seeing them at church. Summer vacations may make contacting people a challenge, but by contacting them as soon as possible you have a greater chance of them saying “yes” than a last minute plea in late August

#3 – Planning prevents exhaustion and missing precious family moments 

Last minute scrambling to get everything done leads to late nights at the church.

You fall into bed each night completely worn out and wake up still tired.

You’re missing dinnertime with your family, your kids’ sports activities, and even bedtime stories.

If this becomes too much of a pattern, your family will feel like they’re losing you to the church.

When you start planning months in advance, you can find volunteers to share the workload, spread out the work, and complete a few tasks each week instead of cramming it all in a few weeks before.

#4 – Planning prevents missing important details

When there’s little to no time spent thinking through the details required to make an event successful, you’re going to miss something.

It might be figuring out who’s going to pick up your guest speaker from the airport or ordering workbooks for attendees. Regardless, those oversights lead to additional stress and frustration.

By brainstorming a list of tasks with your team a few months prior, you’ll have time to think of all those details PLUS you’ll have them documented and assigned to someone to complete.

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about having all the tasks documented and assigned that makes me feel like we’ve got this thing under control (well, for the most part anyway…).

#5 – Planning saves your church money

A key part of the planning process is determining what services or products you’ll need to purchase for the event.

When you gather up all the potential costs early on, you can quickly see if it looks like you could go over budget.

When you start planning early, you have time to reconsider potential purchases and even bargain shop.

Without planning, you’ll realize you’re over budget either after the event is over or when your finance director says you can’t spend anymore (even though you still have to buy the food) because you’re over budget.

Here’s the deal…

I’ve seen and felt the consequences of not planning well. They hurt you, your church, and those you love most.

Planning isn’t just some exercise we can afford to ignore in ministry.

If you’re going to host a community outreach, marriage retreat, Christmas pageant, or other special event, planning will help you achieve the vision and goals you have for that event (without burning out yourself or others).


Does the whole idea of planning sound vague and too complicated?

When I first started planning big events and projects, I often sat at a blank computer screen trying to come up with a plan and felt completely lost. That’s no fun…nor is it very productive!

Let me help.

I’ve managed large projects and planned church events. I’m developing a new resource to equip church leaders with the tools needed to make planning your next event much easier. It’s not ready yet, but I’m excited to get this resource to you soon.

In the meantime, please fill out the form below to receive updates and free tips along the way. You’ll also receive a free church event planning questionnaire. Use this list of questions when you start planning your next event to help your team focus and ensure you get off to a great start.