Even though Houston18 is in the books—National Youth Convention, National Fine Arts Festival, and the National AIM trip—that doesn’t mean we’re done for the year. There are events happening all the time in our local churches and districts, and it’s a given that a lot of time and effort will go into hosting them.
However, these events—large or small—are not about us or our ability to organize speakers, reserve facilities, and book a really cool band.
What are we, as leaders, doing to leave a mark for eternity and reach out beyond the church, convention, festival, or camp walls? Here are five things we want to encourage leaders to consider as you plan, organize, and see through your events.
It bears repeating that we should be praying for God to move before, during, and after events. Spend time in prayer on your own and with your team.
Some ideas of what to pray for:
- Pray for all aspects of the event: the weather, logistics, the safety and well-being of those attending, your staff and volunteers, the facilities, etc.
- Pray God will give your event speaker(s) wisdom and discernment as they prepare their sermon for your event, and for their spiritual protection.
- Pray that every person’s mind and heart will be open to what God wants to do at the event, including salvation for those who have not yet accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior; freedom for those in spiritual bondage; and physical, mental and spiritual healing for attendees.
- Pray for the community where the event is being hosted. Not only for the preparations they are making or that they are filled with a spirit of hospitality and graciousness, but that as attendees go out to the community they will experience opportunities to share the gospel.
- Pray for everyone who was impacted through your event after it’s over—the staff and volunteers who served, people who attended the event, members of the community you’ve interacted with. Thank God for what He did and how He changed and impacted lives.
- Pray that as people go back to their homes, jobs, and routines, they won’t forget their experience and that their commitment to God will deepen.
Jesus says in Matthew 18:19, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (NIV). There is power in prayer!
- BE CONSISTENT
Jesus said, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4, NIV).
The definition of remain is “to stay in the same place or with the same person or group” or “to continue unchanged.” This means consistency. It means persistence. It means continuance.
We all have our personal discipline routines, and when we are out of town or on an event schedule it is easy to break them. However, in order to obey Jesus’ instruction in this passage we need to prioritize and maintain fellowship with Him. Don’t neglect your personal “Jesus time,” and remain in Him during your event.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20, NIV).
This passage, known as the Great Commission, is one of the most important in the Bible. It is Jesus’ instruction to His disciples to share the good news of the gospel to the world. This applies to us today because as followers of Jesus, we are also commanded to go.
You can take a break from your daily routine during your event, but don’t take a break from looking for divine appointments. Although the gospel is being shared from the stage, that shouldn’t be your only focus. In the hallways, at the coffee cart, during rec games—pray for opportunities to connect with students and leaders and share the gospel with them on a personal level.
Pray for similar opportunities when you go out into the community where your event is being hosted. Take advantage of every conversation and exchange you are a part of. Be observant, listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and be obedient when He directs you to someone.
It’s likely that you’ll find yourself pulled in many different directions throughout the duration of your event, but it’s important to maintain a servant attitude.
Jesus set the example for service: “’For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’” (Mark 10:45, NIV). If the Son of God understood the value of serving and putting others above your own interests, how much more should we be willing to serve those under our leadership?
Serving won’t look the same in every situation. It may ask you to give up some of your time, use your talents, or sacrifice your energy. Regardless of what it asks of you, you’ll see that even the smallest act of service will help you minister more effectively.
So throughout your event, continually ask yourself what you can do for others. When you’re seeking out opportunities to put the interests of others above your own, you will find them.
If you’re planning, hosting, or speaking at an event, it’s expected that you’re investing time, energy, money, and a multitude of other things into it.
But what about people? Are you focused on and intentionally investing in the lives of the people around you?
When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37–39, NIV).
When you love someone, you invest in them. And when you invest in someone, you love them.
This includes your staff, volunteers, attendees, and people you interact with in the community. Learn the names those you come in contact with. Smile at them. Be considerate. Treat them with value. Speak words of encouragement to them, not just from the platform, but in one-on-one settings.
The pace of your event may demand that you are constantly on the go, but speeding through it may cause you to miss opportunities to make eternal investments in the people around you.
As we interact with people before, during, and after our events, let us remember to pray, be consistent, evangelize, serve, and invest in what—and who—really matters. In that, we reflect Christ, and show those under our leadership what these events are really about: furthering the kingdom of God, investing in the lives of students, parents, and leaders, and giving God the glory through it all.