If you are a pastor or church leader, planning church events is a regular part of what you do.
Fellowship events. Mission events. Seasonal events around Christmas and Easter. And more.
Because you have a mission. A message. And you want to engage as many people as possible.
But planning church events that engage people is a challenge for many reasons.
For example. You’re planning an event during a busy time of year. The event competes against community, school and TV events going on the same time. Or perhaps, there’s not much interest in what your particular event is about.
But there is a secret ingredient in planning church events that fuels high attendance.
It lurks beneath your congregational landscape like a giant underground spring. Awaiting gold mind. Gushing oil field. But just like other speculative ventures, you must prospect for it.
And you can’t always know for sure when you will hit pay dirt. You observe. Evaluate the landscape. Look for signs. Make educated guesses. And finally, pick a spot and dig. Sometimes it’s a dry well. But you might hit a gusher.
And what is the secret ingredient in planning church events that I’m talking about?
Although felt needs vary specifically from person to person they are generally represented in areas like career, relationships, health, kids, and finances to name a few. Church events planned around these areas often attract interest.
For example, every church study I’ve ever planned on the topic of relationships has drawn a crowd. Especially single adults.
So let’s get psychoanalytical for a moment.
It’s important to understand that felt needs are not always what people really need, but what they think they need.
Of course you know that. So do Advertisers and Marketers. And they exploit it by convincing you that you absolutely do need something… the product/service they’re selling.
Think Beanie Babies, Energy drinks, Pet Rocks, Low Carb Diet, and the Hula Hoop.
Advertisers sold consumers on the idea their lives would improve with these products. People bought it…literally. And pay attention to how advertisers elicit emotion in their ads. Why?
Because when emotions are ramped up, rational decision-making shuts down. People buy on impulse because it feels right and good. Not because it is right or is good.
How many times have you bought something and later asked yourself: What was I thinking? And the answer is, you weren’t. You acted on impulse.
And the biggest area of felt need?
It affects every area of our lives and drives how we spend our time and money. Because it’s important to have the right…
• Cell phone
It motivates people that sign-up for church programs and events too. Yes, I know. They should sign-up because they want to engage spiritually, but that’s not the reality.
More likely, they expect or hope to get something from the event. Maybe a spiritual blessing?
So when planning church events, focus your marketing message on benefits. Because you need to convince the reader it will add something positive to their life.
But wait, you say. What about when people serve from altruistic motives?
Even that can be about giving back to feel good about yourself rather than out of sacrificial love.
So keep this in mind when forming your promotional message.
Of course, felt needs can be exactly what they appear on the surface. The person buying exercise equipment simply wants to promote better health. At the same time, felt needs can be symptoms of a deeper problem.
Someone registering for an exercise class struggles with gluttony. And the gluttony is due to anxiety… caused by stress… related to problems at work. I know, don’t over analyze everything.
But the reality is we are complex beings with layers of life experiences-both good and bad- that influence and shape us. So be aware that felt needs can be the symptom you see on the surface and the real issue is buried under layers you have to peel away.
So the next time you’re planning a church event, ask yourself what felt need it addresses. And if attendance skyrockets, it’s likely you hit the mother lode.
The more you make this a conscious part of your planning process, the more success you will achieve in gaining high attendance at your church events.
Want to know more about planning church events that are successful? Check out my book: Elements of Internal Church Marketing.
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