10 Elements to Church Event Planning – How to Plan a Successful Event for Your Church

Events and churches have long gone hand-in-hand because church families enjoy time together and often seek out ways to gather as a group.

So whether it is the annual children’s vacation bible school, church picnic or a church anniversary celebration, having a template for event planning is crucial to facilitating great church events.

Most events entail the same elements that can be part of an event template and the planning simply requires thinking through the details of each element. Once that template is laid out, event planning can be streamlined, efficient and fun!

10 Elements of Planning a Church Event 

1. Event Goal

It is always helpful to understand what the goal of an event is. Questions you need to ask:

  • Is this event to provide fellowship?
  • Is it a community outreach?
  • Is it a fundraiser to raise money for a cause?

Depending on the goal of the event, the planning can vary. Make sure your planning team understands the why behind the event.

2. Event Budget

Planning for any event should always begin with a budget.  Understanding how much money is available to support the event is critical to the planning process.

It is also important to determine if there will be any money raised at the event or if it is strictly an opportunity to give back to the congregation or community.

An event budget should include things like:  marketing materials, decorations, food, entertainment, equipment rental, and supplies.  Each of these line items should be considered when putting together an event budget.

3. Church Event Theme

Every event should have an identified theme that helps determine all other supporting aspects of the happening!

A theme helps to create the atmosphere and should be used throughout the event.  For example, a Mexican theme dictates the kind of food, decorations, music and atmosphere.

4. Church Event Marketing

Attendance for events is only as high as the church’s ability to get the word out or advertise the event.

It is important to create a marketing plan to ensure people are aware of the event and excited about it.

Depending on whether the event is solely for the church or if it is open to the community dictates the kind of marketing or advertising that needs to be done.

It could be as simple as posting the event on the church website, in the church bulletin and weekly announcements to as complex as printed brochures or advertisements on local radio or television.

Regardless, taking the time to think through who the target audience is and how to get the word out is an important part of successful event planning.

5. Event Activities

Activities are the fun part of every event and provide things for guests to do.

So whether it is planning the games for the church picnic or creating questions for a trivia night, the activity planning should include all details of the activities such as what supplies are needed, instructions for playing games, how prizes are awarded, etc.

The more detail that is laid out ahead of time, the less “hiccups” there will be the day of the event.

6. Food Planning

The food is often the highlight of any event so taking the time to plan and prepare great food can help create a memorable experience for guests.

So whether the event is catered or a group of church volunteers prepare the food – planning the details is important. The menu should support the theme and planning for adequate paper goods and tasty food is what ensures a great food experience!

7. Event Set-up and Tear-down

church event planning1300When I attend big community fairs or art shows, I always think about the invisible army that provides electric power, sets up tents, tables, signage, trash cans, etc.

And then the group that shows up after the fact, takes it all down and cleans up the mess.

This is potentially the most important job in facilitating a big event.  A well organized setup and tear down plan can eliminate last minute chaos and stress for event organizers.

8. Event Decorating

Fun decorations help create atmosphere and can be a great way to reinforce an event theme, so it is important to have a team that can be creative and dress up the event.

This requires some creative thought and skill at hanging, laying out or designing decorations.  These little added touches can take a mediocre event and turn it into something to remember.

9. Job Duties

Events require people to pull them off so it is important to have someone assigned to identify what jobs needs to be done and assigning people to those jobs.

It also entails creating a chain-of-command and identifying leadership over each area. The larger the event the greater the chain-of-command becomes and the more volunteer help will be needed.

Regardless of the size of the event, volunteers will need detailed job descriptions and training to successfully fulfill their job assignments.

10.Organizational Chart

I am a visual person so I like to work with organizational charts because they clearly show who has responsibility for what and what the pecking order is.  Chain-of-command is less about who is on the top of the rung as it is who can make decisions and help facilitate a smooth process.
Here is an example event organizational chart:
church event planning org chart

Church events are a lot of fun and can provide great fellowship for a congregation and community.  Having a structured church event planning process can help streamline the planning and ensure that no detail gets forgotten.

How does your church plan events?

If you found this article helpful, please share it!

photo by:  StevenDepolo
Article originally published December 2011, updated April 2015.


  1. Dawn says

    am currently the new event planner for my church of 1500 members. Just looking for some tips for my first meeting with my committee.
    thanks Dawn

      • Rev Mainoo says

        Wonderful article, I’m the head pastor of Eagle Star Church and I humbly commend you for a great work done. I recommended it to my planning committee and it has taken a lot of pressure from them as they say. I’m glad we have you in the end time christian community. More grease to your elbow with abundant grace.

    • says

      Hi Koomson. Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure I understand the request “sample for all programs”. Could you please be a little more specific.

      thank you!



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