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When it comes to planning church events, there are two calendars battling it out.

The first is the church calendar

We’ve all sat in the meeting where different ministries negotiate for the prime nights of the week and the best times of year for their events.

We choose a date, plan our event, then wait for the people to show up. Sometimes they’re a hit! Other times, they are poorly attended. That’s when the doubts begin to creep in…

“What is wrong with families?! Why aren’t they coming to our events? Our kidmin events are AMAZING!!!!!! Don’t they care about the ETERNAL DESTINY of their children? Families are the WORST.”

Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but these are some of the thoughts I had before we had kids of our own. This brings us to the second calendar, the family calendar.

Now my kids have grown and each have social and extra-curricular calendars we have to contend with. There are Sundays when they are sick, evenings when they have mountains of homework, and weekends when they are on soccer fields all over the state.

I’m not alone. Parents deal with more than just schedules. Health issues, custody situations, job responsibilities, and multiple ages of kids in the home add to the complexities of families being able to come to church events.

More often than not, our church calendars compete with our family calendars. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

Could it be that we’re doing too much? What would happen if we blew up our calendars, re-evaluated what events we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and who we hope to impact through them.

Let’s a take a look at FIVE Types of Events you might consider for your children’s ministry:

  1. ON-RAMP EVENTS – events created as invest/invite opportunities for your families

These are events designed for the church to grow.They are the invitation to come to a church event where people hear about Jesus, and hopefully come to faith, or at least start attending. Hopefully, we are not just creating events to steal people from other churches (though over time that will happen, especially if you have the best events and programming in town).

on ramp to events

All on-ramps lead to something bigger. Highways are not made up of on-ramps. They are long-stretches of road punctuated by on-ramps that eventually lead to a final destination.

Likewise, the on-ramp events should serve the purpose of helping families get on board with the rest of the journey we hope they travel.

  1. NEXT STEP EVENTS – events created to help kids understand decisions they want to make in their walk with God.

If you are creating on-ramp events for families, there will be some who are new to faith. They will need help answering questions and navigating milestones when their kids start asking questions, especially about salvation or baptism.

Most churches create spaces for adults to ask questions, but many adults will need some help answering questions their kids might have. Create spaces for kids and parents to talk about faith.

  1. MILESTONE EVENTS – events created to help parents and kids navigate through transitions in life.

Growing up is full of transitions. And let’s face it; navigating life transitions is difficult for ANY parent.

Between entering kindergarten, learning to read and getting their first Bible, then transitioning out of elementary and into middle school, parents have a ton of big moments to navigate.

It can be like being told to drive from ATL to LA with nothing but a huge map of the United States – remember a world without GPS?!

That’s why you create events like this. Milestone events help show parents the best route to take.

 ATL to LA

Walk alongside parents by creating events to help them celebrate these big moments in a child’s life.

  1. SMALL GROUP EVENTS – events created to help small group leaders invest in the relationships with their few

One of the best things you can do for your small groups is to host events built around group bonding.

Small Groups should not look like this:

not small groups

Small groups become closer when they share fun moments outside of Sunday morning. These can be grade by grade or a full, K-5th event. Either way, these events are a worthwhile investment in your children’s ministry.

  1. CELEBRATIONS – events created to honor people and moments throughout the year

Throughout the course of your year, you need to celebrate certain people, moments, and holidays. These are great events. Be sure to honor people like volunteers, small group leaders, and children’s ministry workers. And make a big deal of Christmas, Easter and other holidays too!

Children at party

When it comes to celebrations, FUN should be the number one priority. Ok – maybe Lent and Good Friday might be an exception to that rule – but nevertheless, approach your celebrations keeping your families in mind. How will they experience your event? Will they enjoy themselves?

Just because you have these five types of events doesn’t mean you are doing them effectively. There are five questions you can ask about your event before you start creating them to ensure you’re thinking strategically about the event.

Download the 5 questions PDF and use as an easy reference while planning your next event.

Always begin with the end in mind. Any event should serve a larger purpose than simply people showing up. You only have so much time and money. Use them to create strategic events that have impact beyond the event itself.

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