Planning a Successful Outreach Event: Part 3
This week, I’m exploring youth outreach events and ways they could be improved. All along, you must be bathing your event in prayer. In addition to prayer, we have to completely invest ourselves in the event if we want others to take the event as seriously as we do.
One of the things that can really make or break your event is bringing in the wrong speaker/band or combination of the two. There are several factors that are important to note.
Some event planners have the idea that you must have a band and a speaker, and that you cannot break that mold. Depending on your event and your speaker, having a band and speaker can be too much at times. If a band does a 45 minute set, and then you bring in a speaker to perform and speak for 50 minutes, plus 15 minutes of announcements and prizes, you might be stretching the interest of the students. There are strategies to make a band and speaker combo work, but it is a fine line that needs to be paid attention to.
When bringing in a band for an outreach event, you have to think differently than an ordinary Wednesday night worship session. You have students coming in who have never been to church before. Think about this for a second, most of them have been exposed to a concert, but many of them have no exposure to a praise and worship set. Put yourself in that mindset. If you knew nothing about church, but you go to an event where people are singing slow songs together with their eyes closed and hands raised, it might freak somebody out. That kind of activity has no parallel in the secular world to prepare them for.
1. MEET EXPECTATIONS
While there is definitely a time and a place for worship sessions, when inviting the community we need to meet them where they are so they are more apt to listen to the Gospel. It shouldn’t be bait and switch; we need to be transparent. We can’t promise students a rock concert and then give them something drastically not.
2. HIGH ENERGY BAND
Invest in a band that has energy. Yes, your Wednesday night worship band might be the next David Crowder band, but for the outreach event to top all outreach events, you need to bring in a band that serves full time in the ministry/entertainment business. High Energy is the key. The idea is that if you are bringing a band in, they need to be dynamic. If they are doing original songs, or even covers, it needs to be a set that appeals to everyone. The important thing is to keep the energy high.
3. TECHNICAL ASPECTS
A band who is in the ministry full time will be able to sound check, set up, and tear down in an effective, time conscious manner. Hire the band that has a heart to meet people where they are, yet still share music that glorifies God. There are a lot of good bands out there that have a heart for ministry. If you need ideas, shoot me a message, and I can suggest several to you.
If you are going to host a band and a speaker, then the transition between band and speaker is absolutely key. It’s at this point that you can really lose people. If there is no reason or perceived reason for the audience to stick around, (I mean they just saw a band right?) they will leave. I suggest that while the band scratches their stage, you need a speaker who can simultaneously prepare for his set. I would suggest that while this transition takes place, then the host emcee do a couple of giveaways, but save the last mega item for the end of the night. This transition period between band and speaker should take a maximum of five minutes. We can transition in under two minutes. The idea is that both the speaker and the band have sound checked before the event and everything is ready to go.
Tomorrow, I focus on the speaker, as this is the portion of the event that I have the most experience with. I am excited about sharing my insight with you. Until then–