Have you ever been to an event and felt like the event coordinators missed a step or two?
Maybe you’ve hosted an event and afterward mentally kicked yourself for a minor (or major) oversite.
I hate that feeling of having overlooked a detail.
I have forgotten to pray at the beginning of an event.
I have stumbled over the introduction of a guest speaker.
I’ve made assumptions in error.
It happens to all of us, but there is something you can do to prevent some of those missteps.
It boils down to these three words – you need to “think things through”.
It sounds so simple, but it’s something we all fail to do.
When we fail to think things through – we leave out small details that hamper and distract our audience.
How do I “think things through”?
1. I make lists. Lots of lists.
I start my lists several days (often weeks) before the event so I can add to the list as God brings things to mind. And He always does!
I list the supplies I need to remember to bring to facilitate our Bible study (DVD, name tags, prayer notebook, my Bible, my Bible study book). I list out the items that need to be done before the event. I list out what needs to be done once I arrive (unlock doors, put up signs, start coffee, put out name tags, turn on music). My lists are detailed because my mind can’t be trusted to remember everything. I print my lists off and put them on my clipboard and stick it in my “church bag” so they don’t get left at home.
2. I walk through the space.
From the parking lot to our event location. I try to put myself in the shoes of the new girl who doesn’t know our campus. Is it obvious what door she needs to enter? Does it make sense to hold our event in that room? Do we have enough tables/chairs? Have the tables been pulled away from the walls so we can serve from both sides? Is the room too hot/cold? Do we need a microphone so everyone can hear?
3. I go through the motions of any activity.
If I’m going to show a video, I test out the equipment. If I’m doing an icebreaker I make sure I have every needed supply and enough space. If we’re going to move around the room, I walk through the space to rearrange any obstacles. I may still miss a direction I need to give, but I’m less likely to do so.
This past Sunday we took communion by intinction (dipping the bread into grape juice). We’ve not been there quite a year yet, but it was obvious that this was something that had probably not been done before as folks were unsure of whether they should go ahead and eat the bread or hold onto the bread and wait to eat it together.
Go through the motions and think things through so your audience doesn’t stumble.
4. I imagine myself as a guest.
Will I feel welcome? Will I know what to do when I enter the room? Do I need to add a greeter at the outside door? For lengthy events I add a note to share directions to the nearest restrooms. If there’s childcare, is it easy to navigate from dropping off the children to the event location? Is there a pile of junk in the corner that needs to be moved or hidden somehow? Are there distractions in the room I can eliminate? Is there something we can do to warm up the room and make it feel more welcoming? Do we need to set out Bibles and notepaper for those who didn’t bring them?
Ladies, I know God can use messy, hot rooms for ministry.
I know He doesn’t need us to dot every “i” and cross every “t”.
However, when we take the extra time to “think things through” it communicates our love for our audience.
God gives us the ability to remove barriers and obstacles that might hinder their ability to hear the message.
If I am cold I am thinking about how I wish I had grabbed a sweater from home, not about the speaker’s message.
If I don’t know what to do, I am self-conscious and may even regret having come.
I can’t guarantee that when you “think things through” every event will be a wild success, but I can promise you’ll have less stress, you’ll make few missteps, and your audience will benefit greatly.
Your turn to share: Has there been a time when you failed to “think things through”?
You may also want to read:
Don’t Get Caught Up in the Numbers