Most ministries are really good at planning, gathering volunteers and hosting church sponsored events. There are always things that are learned when facilitating a church event and taking those valuable tidbits of information and using them to improve the next event is a great way to be continually improving your events.
Debriefing from a big event captures the moment and takes advantage of the combined knowledge and experience of everyone involved. When those involved in the event are given the opportunity to share feedback, that is incorporated into future church event planning, events continually improve.
6 Reasons to Debrief From a Church Sponsored Event
1. Lessons Learned
Planning a big church event is similar to building an engine. The planning builds the parts, organizes them and puts them all together – and then the day of the event you simply turn on the engine and watch it operate. Through this process there are inevitable things that go on behind the scenes that need to be managed and taking note of those things can provide valuable information for event organizers. Lessons learned include capturing fresh information by asking the questions, “what worked” that we should continue to do and “what are the opportunities for improvement’ that we can make note of and consider for the next event.
2. Celebrate Success
Whether the event had a few hiccups or ran smoothly there is always a reason to celebrate and thank those who helped to make it happen. Taking time in a debrief session to acknowledge the hard work and the outcome is important in keeping motivated and engaged employees and volunteers.
3. Budget Review
Every event should have a budget that includes every aspect of the event. Things like marketing, decorations, food, entertainment, miscellaneous supplies, event admission fees, staff hours – are just some of the things that should be considered when putting together an event budget. It is important to go back and review how well the event met budget and look at some of the expenditures that could possibly be cut the next time or perhaps those things that should be added at the next event. Keeping a church event budget at a break-even point is important to ensure compliance with the overall church budget. Most church events are not intended to make money but they should all at least pay for themselves and managing the budget helps to achieve that goal.
4. Evaluate Volunteer Leaders
A debriefing session is a great time to review all of the volunteer leaders and evaluate their effectiveness in overseeing a process or a team of volunteers. Effective volunteer management uses events as an opportunity to observe volunteers and make note of those with strong leadership abilities as well as identifying those that may need additional mentoring or training.
5. Evaluate Volunteer Training
It doesn’t matter how big or small an event is, training is critical to its success and developing a training program helps to ensure that volunteers understand the goal of the event and how what they do supports that goal. They also need to know practical steps for performing their volunteer job description duties. This may be as simple as showing them how to collect admission tickets to as complicated as procedures for cash handling. Regardless, a debrief session should look at how well the training worked and how consistent volunteers were in following training procedures.
6. Gather Volunteer Feedback
Since most church events are manned by volunteer labor it is really important to gather feedback from the volunteers. Similar to employees, they are the ones doing the work, are the closest to the process and the customers, and if allowed, can share valuable information to improve the event. For example, my church does a huge (5000+kids) summer camp every year that requires over 1000 volunteers to pull it off. Every year (we’ve been doing this event for 15+ years) we ask the volunteers what worked and what could be improved. The growth and success of this event can be linked back to volunteers offering ideas and suggestions for improvement.
Planning a church sponsored event can be a fun way to create a fellowship environment for congregants or to provide an evangelistic opportunity to expose visitors to the church. Regardless, church events take time and resources and debriefing from the event is one way to ensure that those resources were used appropriately and met the objective of the event.
Does your church do big events?