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This is it—the big meeting. You sit down in a room with your volunteers. Some are long-term veterans, some are newbies. There might be a few student leaders, maybe an intern, or even a few others on your paid team. There’s some early banter among friends, a few introductions, then all eyes turn to you—the fearless leader of the big event.

You can feel it in your gut. This is the start of the countdown. This is the first, defining moment that signals the planned launch of the unbelievably exciting, maybe even uncomfortably large, task God has placed on your heart. You know what you say now will define how the next couple months play out. What are the basic things your team needs to know? How do you mix inspiration with specific direction?

You take a deep breath and then start talking.

Heart/History: Tell the story of why
Why are we doing this event? Why is it critical that we all show up for this thing? Why are your volunteers taking time off to be at this event? This is your chance to really “sell” the event to the leadership, and it should flow out of a passionate heart for God and students.

Target Audience/Purpose: Whom are you building this event around and why?
With this event, who are we trying to reach? Which biblical purpose is the primary one to focus on? If we’re going after unchurched students, we focus on evangelism. If we’re taking a bunch of our kids on a mission trip, serving is the biggest priority. A discipleship retreat should look completely different than an outreach event.

Goal: Define what success means for the event
How many students are we shooting for? Is it a fair number? Is it a faith number? There should also be more to a goal than just getting 50 students to an event. Look for ways to measure success in spiritual growth, participation, and meaningful conversations.

Explanation: Clear up confusion
Can you define insider language? Are there terms or expressions used year after year that alienate new team members? This might be a good time for some basic questions.

Specifics/Budget: People and money management
What are the next steps in pulling off the event? Assign jobs and key roles at this point in the meeting. This is the time to focus on the big picture of people management. How much are we spending on this event? Are there scholarships? Are we expecting to break even? What is the “magic number” for attendance?

Volunteers: Who is doing what?
Think through where you need people in the meeting area. Registration, greeters—security patrolling the known makeout spots in the church. Remember that your volunteers around the table will be your best recruiters outside this room.

Marketing: How to let students know about the event
One of the most critical tasks of a leader is marketing. The last thing you want to do is have an event for non-churched students and only your core kids show up. Make sure you are exploring the various channels for marketing, including text messaging, the church’s web site, an announcement in big church, even skywriting.

Follow-up: Where we go from here?
When are we meeting again? When is the official debrief time? What time is the celebration party to honor what God has done?

Having covered these bases, you wrap up the meeting confident that your team is both inspired and informed. The countdown clock is running, but your team is set up to stay comfortably ahead of it and launch a great event. You might actually even get some sleep tonight.

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