This week brings us Halloween. With this comes a variety of Fall Festival/ Harvest Party/Trunk or Treat, Halloween alternative events. With these events comes the annual discussion on whether or not we should do these events or if they are even effective. This discussion is healthy and, I believe, necessary. As the church we should constantly be looking at what we do and why and tweaking our methods in order to reach more people. This had me thinking:
Is a big crowd the measure of success?
There can be a tendency to measure the success of our events on the number of people that show up. Certainly this is a concern. I mean if we put a lot of effort and money into an event and no one shows up, then I think we can say that this event was not as successful as we would have hoped, BUT if we get a big crowd can we walk away happy and call it successful?
If the only goal was to draw a big crowd, then congratulations. BUT, that should NEVER be our only goal in the church. If 100 or 1000 or 10,000 people show up, but the gospel is not shared, then I would argue that the event was a failure. So, let’s look at some better ways to measure success:
- Was the Gospel shared? This can be a hard one because the fruit is often not immediately measurable. But that’s ok. You see Paul wrote that he planted and Apollos watered, but that GOD provided the increase. It is not our job to try to make the seed grow. It it our job to plant it. So, let’s be honest with ourselves. Was the Gospel shared? I’m not talking about tracts that are given in a registration packet. Most of these probably end up in the trash. There is value in them. God cause them to reach the ones that bother to read them. But, I’m talking about an actual person-to-person, verbal, in real time, while there still at your event sharing of the gospel. If your event is outreached minded and the gospel is not being shared, then regardless of the polarity of the event it was not successful.
- Are you connecting? Are the people of your church taking time to have conversations with the people in attendance? More than anything else you do at your event, THIS will be what brings people back to visit your church. We need to plan our events in such a way that there is opportunity for conversation between the church people and the attendees.
- What’s your plan for follow up? If a great many people come, but that is the only contact you have with them, then it is less likely that they will come to a service at your church. It is too late on the Monday after your event to start thinking about how you will follow up. You need to have a plan NOW for how you will follow up with the people that attended your event. Consider the demographic you are seeking to reach, or the one you are reaching and aim your follow up at them. If your reaching children with young children, then inform them about what it is that you do for children in your church. Invite them to another children’s event. Tell them about your children’s church if you have one. The bottom line is that you have to have a follow up plan BEFORE the event.
- Were YOUR goals reached? What was the purpose of this event? If you aren’t sure, then you need to take a step back and start with that. Decide what you want to accomplish with this event and then work towards that. Afterwards evaluate your event based on this goal and not simply on the numbers.
It is human nature, I believe, to look at a BIG even and feel that it was a raging success. But, we need to avoid that tendency and look at the things that matter more.
Other than numbers what ways do YOU measure success for an event?Matt Norman
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