Churches are good at doing things big. But bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to events. Sometimes we’d get more bang for our buck if we spread out the effort into a series of events.
Maybe your church should consider a series of multiple events instead of one behemoth event. It worked for one church—and at Christmas no less.
Multiple Events vs. One Big Event
Typically, churches do a big Christmas weekend. There’s a one or two days of big services, and all the effort leading up to Christmas is focused on those few services.
They calculated the cost of all that effort—the time, money, and energy.
They also calculated the return—how many first-time guests showed up and how many kept coming.
The math didn’t add up.
So they changed course. Instead of that single Christmas push, they tried doing a campaign throughout the entire Christmas season (six weeks).
And it worked.
For Easter, they’re doing the same thing. They’re doing three weeks of Easter events leading up to Easter weekend. They’re actually doing Easter egg hunts the two weekends before Easter.
They’re not putting all their eggs in one basket—literally.
It Works for Sermons
We already do the same thing with sermons—twice over:
- The sermon is shared on Sunday, but then we repurpose it. The audio goes online for download/podcast. Quotes and snippets are posted on social media as text and graphics. Study questions can be posted online and used on social media to encourage engagement.
- Many churches rely on the sermon series, where an overarching theme spans multiple weeks. The pastor writes a series of related sermons around that theme and the creative team comes up with visuals and other creative elements that can be used for the entire series—because it’s too much effort for a single sermon.
Do the same thing with your events.
Get More From Your Effort
So whether you’re looking at Christmas or Easter—or any other events—find ways to get more from your effort.
- Repeat: Instead of a single event on a single night, look at ways to do it over and over again. Plays are rarely performed once and then never again. All that work and effort spawns multiple performances. If it’s truly successful, the production will hit the road and seek out new audiences. When a band sells out a show they try to add a second show in the same town. It’s OK to repeat yourself, especially if you can draw a different audience.
- Create a series: Another way to minimize effort is to turn an event into a series. Ask multiple guests to give their take on the same topic. Or offer a class that works its way through different aspects of a larger topic. You’re already connecting with people about a specific topic, so offer more entry points and opportunities for people to engage.
- Build a larger event: Instead of offering a single event, create a series of interconnected events that can all be part of a larger whole. Instead of just hosting a parade, my city has a host of events to create an entire week celebrating the city—a parade, open house at city hall, cookout, pancake breakfast, etc. For your church, it could be a series of Christmas events—a worship service, a coffeehouse night, caroling, a craft fair, etc.; or a series of summer events—a cookout, softball game, service project, VBS, etc. The goal is to unite multiple events around a common theme with shared messaging.
- Bring disjointed events together: Instead of offering different events every month and having to recreate the wheel every month, find a way to connect those events and make them a cohesive, unified series. You might need to kill off a few of the events to make it work, but the result will be worth it. Instead of a service project, a family game night, and a coffeehouse, you could do a monthly family game night with a coffeehouse atmosphere or a monthly family service project. Another way to approach it is to bring disjointed audiences together. If you have a kids program Wednesday night and an adult event Thursday night, put them on the same night and create synergy. Now childcare is less of an issue for the adult event and maybe they can share snacks.
Ways to Minimize the Work
If this is starting to sound like a lot of work, yeah it can be. One of the dangers here is to over-inflate all your events. That’s not the goal. You want to strategically select an event that takes a lot of work, and find ways to get more out of it.
So think about some of the effort that goes into an event and ways you can get more out of that effort:
- Content: Any time you have to create content—whether it’s a sermon, play, Bible study, movie—you want to get as much out of that content as you can. It could also be ancillary content, like programs that you’re able to reuse.
- Decoration: Any time you’re decorating a space or creating stage design you want to get as much out of that work as you can. Why deck the halls for Christmas but only enjoy it for a few services? All the work that goes into setting up a coffeehouse theme in your church gym should really be used for more than just one event. A key challenge here is whether or not you can leave the setup intact or if it has to come down and be set up again. Either way, effort is saved in reuse. You get a lot more mileage if you can avoid tearing things down and setting them up again—but sometimes you can’t avoid it.
- Marketing: We all know the work that goes into getting the word out. By creating a series of events you can minimize the marketing work. Instead of new graphics, fliers, and web listings for each event, you can create one set of marketing elements for the entire thing.
- Publicity: Generating publicity can also be a lot of work. It’s a shame if you finally break through and get publicity for your church but it’s only for a single event. What if instead of that single event, you were able to promote something that had half a dozen opportunities for people to come to your church?
- Process: Sometimes you can save effort by creating a process or a system. You should already have systems in place to make your life easier, but creating them around a consistent, repeating event can save more time. Maybe your event is monthly so you have take down decorations, but you can come up with a system to make set up and tear down go quickly and smoothly.
- Kill the loner: You might need to kill off the standalone event. If it’s just too much effort to put into a single event and there’s no way to spread that effort out, it might be time to let that event go.
- Energy: A lot of energy and excitement goes into an event, especially when you hook people with an engaging idea. It’s hard to create that kind of energy, so when you do have it, stretch it out over multiple events.
Less Is More
Churches already do a lot. We’re stretched pretty thin. So when you do something, make sure you get the most out of it.
Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. Spread things out. Create multiple points of contact.
Even beyond Christmas and Easter, churches put on a lot of events. We can help. Our Courageous Storytellers membership site focused on events this month. Join now to get access to super-practical resources, including templates, documents, social graphics, webinars, and more.
Kevin D. Hendricks wrote this originally at Church Marketing Sucks .