Our church used to host a Friday night event for middle school students once a month. It was in partnership with one of the local schools and it was a big deal. Hundreds of kids would come into our church, play games, dance and hang out. From the outside it looked like our church was thriving. Internally it was devouring our resources and wearing me out. It didn’t last more than a year.
Events are a useful tool in youth ministry world. They can kickoff a season, celebrate a cause and create momentum. And just like any tool if misused or overused it can be harmful. Again, events are tools and should not be the norm. That does not mean you should not use them in your ministry. To know whether or not your event will be a success and useful to your ministry you need to know if:
- There Is A Next Step: Before you build an event ask yourself, “What do we want people to know and do because of this event?” If you cannot answer that question, re think whether or not the investment is worth it. Events need to lead to something that will help your ministry grow and move. If they do not they are just a consumeristic tool and no one will ever be truly satisfied.
- You Will Be Stronger Afterwards: Events are emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausting. At the same time they can bring together a team, and teach you new things. The reason you do an event as a youth ministry is to make yourself stronger. If you are discovering new ways to serve and reach people for Christ it could be a benefit to make it a tradition.
- It Aligns With The Vision: If the event has nothing to do with the vision it could be dangerous to your church. Does not matter how successful it’s deemed by others, a misaligned event could slow the church down. Misaligned events are a distraction to what’s important and can create unnecessary tension amongst staff and parishioners. Not only does your event need a purpose it needs to flow with the church. An event in line with the vision will always be more successful.
The misconception is that a successful event means large crowds, staying within the budget and having a good time. While all of those are good, they might not contribute to what God is calling you to do. Events are not the solution to a successful ministry, they are a resource. Be sure to use them wisely.
How else do you measure the success of an event? Do you feel my assessment is too harsh?