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January Activate Post: Best practices in preparing for high-impact events at your church


During my years as a local church pastor in Nova Scotia, Canada, I led churches in hosting many types of high-impact events. In one church, we successfully launched our first public worship service as a new church. In another location, we hosted an annual week of renewal featuring a guest speaker. This event was by far the most important week in the life of our church because it had a positive impact in our church and in our community. It brought people together with a clear focus on the spiritual life of regular attendees, the unchurched, and de-churched. A large number of people joined together in preparing for the event—cleaning, cooking, preparing, and inviting and hosting guests. Our church was strong and growing because we united around this high-impact event.

TMS Global is now in its third decade of hosting high-impact church mission training events like Activate. We’ve also helped scores of churches launch Global Impact Celebrations (GICs). You can learn more about GICs here.

Here are five best practices we’ve seen work for churches that desire to host high-impact events of all kinds at their church.

  1. Enlist key church leaders at a special meeting, asking them to put the full weight of their influence behind the event and take ownership for its success. This includes their commitment to attend the entire event. If you plan enough in advance, you can ask that they clear their calendars and reschedule less important things. Because they are leaders, they can enthusiastically invite everyone within the scope of their influence to the event. Ask them to help prepare for the event. Provide a clear and concise vision of what success will look like at the conclusion of the event. Then go for it with gusto.

  2. Promote the event by utilizing every communication vehicle available. Let’s face it, sometimes people don’t go because they don’t know. So communicate in advance using social media, e-newsletters, worship folders, and weekend worship announcements. Whatever you have, use it. Maybe even come up with something new and creative. Lead pastors could even preach about the upcoming event as a way to lift up its importance and garner the support of the church.

  3. Pray! Ask individual and groups to begin praying weeks in advance for a spirit of anticipation to rise up in the congregation. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s anointing on participants and presenters. Pray daring to believe that God will truly transform the entire church.

  4. Enthusiastically offer personal invitations. Announcements during weekend worship won’t cut it. For high-impact events, people need a personal invitation. A lead pastor and staff serving in Pennsylvania partnered with TMS Global’s coaching services and helped lead their congregation to host an inaugural GIC at their church. They personally called all 250+ church attendees with a personal invitation to attend the event.

  5. Clean and shine the physical space(s) you’ll be using. High-impact events aren’t business as usual! When you freshen up the space, you demonstrate that this event is important enough that it warrants extra special care of the facility.

If you try these best practices in planning for you next big event, I can almost guarantee it will make a significant difference in the outcome.

Dr. Duane Brown serves as the senior director of church culture for TMS Global.