Team Series: Event Planner, Gena McCown
It may surprise you that I would recommend an Event Planner as a key member of your Women’s Ministry team. However, I believe there are a few good reasons to support this case. If you have a smaller Women’s Ministry Team this may be a role that is absorbed by your Hospitality Leader/Coordinator. Yet, there is merit in having a separate woman in charge of this area.
For many Women’s Ministries there are regular events on the church calendar, usually monthly or every other month. These tend to be some sort of a fellowship event that contains a meal, speaker, and even worship. In most cases, this is the event that your Hospitality Leader is going to coordinate. As your ministry grows, you may begin to plan larger events. This could be anything from inviting a nationally known speaker to a special event, planning a retreat for the women in the church, or even hosting or planning your own women’s conference. It is in this later grouping of events where having an Event Planner on your team is going to benefit your ministry.
Large events generally take six months up to a full year to plan. They are comprised of many details that have to be attended to. Simple things such as decorating to the theme are at one end of the spectrum. Planning out the food menu, arranging lodging, transportation, and the budget are at the other end of that planning spectrum. An Event Planner is usually someone who has a lot of the same characteristics of the Hospitality Leader (attention to detail, warm and friendly, etc) but also has an equal dosing of the gift of Administration (works well under pressure, organizes well, schedule oriented, etc).
Because large events have so many facets to them, and take so long to prepare, it is beneficial to the team if there is just one or two people who focus on this area. Perhaps your ministry is not large enough for this to be an important team role today, but it is something worth keeping in mind for the future.
In most instances the Event Planner is not making all of the decisions or doing all of the work on her own. She will build up a team or committee of women to help her. This is a great avenue to bring in volunteers from the body of women in your church. Many women would love to support the Women’s Ministry but cannot commit to the monthly requirements of serving. This provides these women an opportunity to serve toward a specific event, using their gifts and talents.
An Event Planner will be in charge of things such as:
- Finding and securing a location for the event. Coordinating the rental or obtaining things like tables, chairs, linens, decorations, etc.
- Securing the speaker, and whatever requirements the speaker has for their time at the event.
- Working with catering or volunteers from the church to coordinate the menu.
- Scheduling the event, coordinating technical needs (television, projectors, microphones, etc).
- Designing and procuring the printed materials for the event, registration for the event, collecting payments, etc.
- Coordinating special touches throughout the event to make the women feel special, and to create value to the event that is equal or above what the women paid.
An Event Planner will have characteristics such as:
- She is an event attender. Look for women who love going to conferences, retreats, etc. If they personally don’t enjoy them, they won’t make a good planner.
- On a spiritual gifts test you will see that her scores are pretty even between the gifts of hospitality and administration. She may also score high as a leader/teacher, but not always. Some women are great about doing the work, but have no calling to be a speaker at the event. Others are perfect behind the scenes and comfortable in front of the people.
- She is detail oriented, scheduler, thrives under deadlines, is equally comfortable with light accounting and picking table centerpieces.
- She is a woman who is quite content focusing on just 1 big project versus a million little ones.
- Generally speaking she is a woman that can rally up the troops when she needs extra help. People like working with her, she can delegate without dictating.
- I’ve also noticed that these women already have their finger on the pulse of new speakers, authors, etc. They may already even know some of these people personally. They also tend to know what is happening in other Women’s Ministries in their area and beyond.
While many would argue this job could be done by the entire team, and reasonably justifying their argument… I find having one person dedicated to this job is a blessing to the ministry and also the woman doing the work. These women tend to take such joy in serving in this manner. Details others would consider tedious, event planners see as special touches that can “make all the difference”.