When it comes to growing your youth group and the students in it, events serve a great purpose. They can be a non-threatening way for students to invite friends to church or build up students that want to grow in their faith.

Many youth leaders find they have a lot of ideas for events but don’t always know what steps to take to make them happen. These tips should help youth leaders get the ball rolling.

Figure out your purpose

Youth group events serve different functions, so you need to know your goal. If you are trying to use this event to reach out to students that don’t come to church, you will want the main selling point of your event to be the fun time you’ll have.

If you are trying to build up students and you want it to be a serious time, you want to sell the event on that. This does not mean fun events can have nothing serious in them or vice versa, but your promotional pitch should be based on your goal.

Just remember that they key ingredient to getting people involved in your event is to find a reason “Why” they would want to attend or contribute in some manner. Once you have this reason, it is much easier to organize your event.

Identify A Great Speaker

Having a speaker who comes to your event is going to be critical to its success. The keynote speaker is someone who is going to really make sure that your audience is paying attention and learning something from it.

Of course, the biggest challenge of finding a speaker for your event is going to be determining your budget and date. “Before you contact a speakers bureau, you need to make sure you have clearly outlined your budget and date” says Dan Smith of the website Keynote Speaker. “I have worked with many organizers who don’t have this in place and it wastes a lot of time for both parties.”

We also spoke with Emily Miller, the editor for the website Motivational Speakers and here is what she suggests when hiring a professional speaker:

Step 1 – Determine your theme

Step 2 – Set a budget

Step 3 – Have a date

Step 4 – Have a venue

Once you have these four critical elements for your event, then you can contact a speakers agency and work with them on booking a speaker.

Don’t be afraid to copy

Many youth groups before you have planned events of varying levels of success. Don’t feel you need to reinvent the wheel. Laser tag is still fun even if you didn’t invent it.

Look at what other groups around you are doing or ask your students what they find fun. Not every event will be perfect or original, but they will often get the creative juices flowing and reveal to you what your students think about different things.

Construct a basic outline

When you have your idea, begin to figure out how it will flow. Make sure you answer questions like where students will be dropped off, what are your start and end time, and how much your event will cost. A helpful practice is to run through the event from beginning to end in your head. This way, you can see where the weak areas are along the way. As you start making an outline, don’t expect it to be perfect right away. It’s easier to think against an idea than it is to try to be perfect on your first attempt.

Play the roles

As you think about your event, try to look at your event through different lenses. How will the new student feel? If the answer is confused or left out, you have an area you need to address. Ask yourself the questions the protective mother would ask, mostly about safety and leadership. Answering those questions will find the weak areas in your event and address them before anything can go wrong.