After the Party

If you are like me, you tend to feel a little let down after a big project or event. After working so hard for weeks or months to prepare, and experiencing growing excitement and anticipation, it’s suddenly over. So how can you make the best use of the days following the big event?

With Christmas now behind us, you may be experiencing the let down after your Christmas events and projects. We planned, prepared, and practiced, and suddenly it arrived and was over. There are some things we can do to make use of the “letdown” period. There are things you can do even as you are preparing your event, and there are some specific steps to take shortly after the event.

Because Christmas is still on my mind – and it is likely on yours as well, I’ll refer to common Christmas events when discussing steps to take before and after an event.

Use the event as a springboard for more. While planning your event include in your preparations what you will do following the event.

New Guests: You may have seen a few new quests at your Christmas events, and reconnected with some you may not have seen for a long time. It is important that each person visiting feels welcomed. Get their contact information, – and then contact them in a few days following the event. You could include a guest form on each seat and ask anyone new to fill it out, or even encourage visitors to connect on an app. Some churches even offer a gift if people take their filled-in form to a welcome centre before they leave. However you choose to connect with each guest, make it simple and clear, informing them how you will use the information you acquire.

Volunteers/ Staff: Throughout the preparations and during the event, record each volunteer and staff who contributed to the event and thank them after in a personal way.

Our church just did a Living Nativity led by one of our members. Our church’s average attendance is around 85-90 people, and the leader on this project counted 75 people involved. Most of the church participated in some way! Thanking as many volunteers as possible will go a long way. And who knows, it may encourage them to volunteer again? This is going to take some work but should bring you benefits down the road as people want to serve again because they felt appreciated.

Post-event Opportunities: Plan a class or training to follow the event. These opportunities will provide meaningful material that builds off your event. For example, after a Christmas event, plan to begin new small groups in January and invite those who attended the event to join a group.

You could also plan a course to begin shortly after your event and announce this at the end of your Christmas program and allow people to sign up that evening. The course could be all about Jesus or a series like the Alpha program.

Immediate After-Party Actions

Thankyou’s: Extend your gratitude via cards, texts, or emails the day following the event. Handwritten notes are probably best. Thank all the staff and volunteers who contributed. If you had sponsors, thank them with a note, and maybe even a nice card or certificate they would like to display in their office.

Offers: Send a follow-up thankyou to all who attended and offer something before inviting them to attend something else. More than getting them to the next event, you want them to have a positive memory of the even they attended and the experience they had in your church. Offer to pray for them and invite them to join you Sundays at your services.

Invites: Invite them to attend your upcoming small groups or classes. Put together an invitation  that describes the event and all the details of where and when and who will benefit from it. Do your best to present this as something that will benefit them, not you.

I love planning big events that are well-prepared and practiced and performed. It’s important to know what to do next. I hope you got some helpful ideas from the above steps.

I would love to hear how you use the time following events to connect with guests and develop relationships with them.

Keep looking up,

Andy Wiebe

Simply Christmas

Let’s remember the simple Christmas story:

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.                           (Luke 1: 26-380

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[i] for he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
    She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
    which means ‘God is with us.’”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

(Matthew 1: 18-25)

The Birth of Jesus

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

(Luke 2: 1-20)

Visitors from the East

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
    are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
    who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.                     

(Matthew 2: 1-11)

– taken from the New Living Translation