Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How to Prepare for a Conference as a Host

How to Prepare for a Conference as a Host

It’s no secret that the Christian Conference is increasingly becoming the popular setting in which to educate believers about matters of ministry.
Seminary may not be cost effective for lay leaders and aspiring evangelists and/or those individuals looking to live out God’s purpose for their lives.
Conference planners say there are some basic things to consider in the planning process.
You can begin the process in your planning by Zeroing In On Your Vision, said Dr. Stacia Pierce co-pastor of Lansing,Mich.-based Life Changers.
"When planning a special event, have a target or purpose in mind for the event. Identify the audience you want to reach and the tone of your conference," she said. "Establish clear goals for your conference to help keep you and your team focused.
1. Create an Atmosphere: "The conference theme, décor, music and guest service all create an atmosphere that will either enhance or diminish the experience of your conference attendees.
2. Count up the Cost: "Determine the budget, advertising, personnel, training needed to make your event a success."
3. Seek Sponsorship: Conference and event planner Robin Ware of the Atlanta-based The Ware Agency said don’t be reluctant to ask for help.
"Commercial vendors and sponsors are approachable and supportive of religious (faith-based) events/conferences because they understand that church people are viable consumers," Ware said.
5. Location: "If you aren’t using your own church, begin to narrow down host cities. This is where it is wise to employ a Conference Planner. They will be able to give you wise counsel and guidance," she said.
Research: "Find out what other conferences and events are being hosted during your desired dates. Make sure you aren’t competing with any other major events in your city, in your church and within the gospel community."

6. Guest speakers and artists: "Obtain their Riders and Hospitality Forms. Riders are provided by artists and Hospitality Forms by preachers and workshop presenters. These will state their honorariums and travel requirements. Preachers and Speakers don’t typically quote prices but they have an amount they normally are paid and will communicate it to you verbally through their offices if its not located on the Hospitality Form," said Ware and to be sure to purchase event insurance."

Also see: www.thewareagency.com and www.ministrymarketingsolutions.com

1 comment:

pamperry said...

How To Create an Effective Church Ministry Marketing Plan by Christopher B. Nelson-Jeffers

Does your church or ministry have an Evangelism plan? How effective are you at reaching prospective worshippers and members? Here are the four steps you MUST follow if you want to kick-start your growth for the next 12 months ...

"Evangelism" vs. "Church Ministry Marketing" To a great number of pastors and other leaders in the church, the terms "church" and "marketing" hardly belong in the same article, much less in the same sentence, and never NEVER together. To many people, the term "marketing" instantly brings to mind slick, expensive corporate advertising campaigns, with sleazy, fast-talking salesmen, manipulating honest, hard-working consumers into buying things they don't want, don't need, and can't afford.

While it is certainly true that there are some secular marketers like that, it is also true that there are some ministers, churches and "religious" movements like that as well - though they are thankfully, by-and-large, the exception and not the rule. In fact, in the minds of many people, the term "Evangelist" itself often means precisely what the term "Salesman" means: a slick, fast-talking huckster manipulating weak-minded people with high-pressure tactics and mesmerizing language, calling upon them to "donate generously" to his "ministry", a ministry that is little more than a elaborately-veiled scam.

Secular Evangelism and Church Ministry Marketing When you examine the issue carefully and objectively, you will note that at their root, church or ministry evangelism and secular marketing have much the same purpose and intent - that is, to literally "get the word out" to the people, to create an awareness of a product or service in the minds of potential customers (or in the case of churches, of worshippers and members), and to encourage in them a motivating desire to buy or participate.

By definition, "Evangelism" is "the preaching or zealous spreading [of Christianity], especially through the activities of evangelists". It also refers to "a crusading zeal, great enthusiasm, or fervor for a particular cause [i.e. Christianity]". [source: Websters College Dictionary, Encarta English Dictionary).

The term "evangelism" itself is revealing. The root, "evangel" is derived from the Latin "evangelium" and the Greek "euangelos", which means, quite literally, "well messenger" ("eu" meaning "well", and "angelos" meaning "messenger"), or - the "bringer of good news". Church Ministry Marketing and the "Great Commission" The "Great Commission" of Christianity, according to the Gospel writer Matthew, is to "go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you ..." (Matthew 28:18-20).

Thus in a sense, the biblical imperative asserted by Matthew, is to "go forth and spread the Good News of Christianity to as many people as possible". What is this, if not a form of marketing?

"Marketing", in the secular world, is defined as "the business activity of presenting products or services to potential customers in such a way as to make them eager to buy ..." [source: Encarta English Dictionary] or alternately "all business activity involved in the moving of goods and/or services from the producer to the consumer, including selling, advertising, packaging, etc..." [source: Websters College Dictionary].

Marketing means, basically, matching a product or service with a human need or desire. In the words of one successful secular marketer, marketing is simply the process of "finding the people who need what you are selling, and making sure they buy it!"

Evangelism, Church Ministry Marketing, and The Art of Persuasion All marketing involves an element of persuasion ... of convincing those who are not our customers to become our customers by buying our product or service. It also involves persuading current customers to continue to purchase our service or product, in the face of a world of possible alternatives.

Evangelism involves persuasion as well . . . namely, persuading those who are not followers or believers of Christian faith to become disciples, and to accept and practice a Christian paradigm. It may also mean persuading those who are nominally Christian by way of culture and/or family, to pro-actively commit (or re-commit) themselves to the Christian faith journey.

And like marketing, evangelism seeks to persuade current disciples and believers to continue upon that path, in the face of a world of possible alternatives.

So, in combining the two seemingly unrelated concepts, we can define "church ministry marketing" as "all activities of [the church] involved with the presentation of [the faith or denominational paradigm] in such a way as to make people eager to participate and to become disciples and believers, or to continue to be active participants in [the church]...

... including activities such as "outreach evangelism" (selling), advertising, public relations, facilities and program (packaging), etc ..."

Does your pastor's mind balk and choke a little at the melding of these two reputedly disparate concepts of the secular and religious worlds? You are not alone.

Yet why shouldn't religious leaders look to and emulate the most successful methods of the secular business world, as long as those methods are congruent with the spiritual and moral values of the church? Church Ministry Marketing and the Art of Communication At its root, marketing is all about communication.

So is evangelism. Communication occurs in many ways, from the words that we write or speak, to how we package ourselves and our church; the clothes that we wear, our haircut, our grooming, the facilities we build, the program we develop, and how we maintain them.

Today's modern age provides a WEALTH of potential communication tools and resources, from newspapers and magazines, radio, television, direct mail, printed materials, voice and video recordings, telephone, personal contact facilitated by our modern transportation conveyances, to the rapidly-expanding cyber-resource of the Internet, email, websites, RSS, and more!

Along with these developments of course come many challenges. People are much more educated, sophisticated, and media-savvy, and are much more aware of the wide, wide world of options and possibilities available to them.

The days when you could roll into town and set up a wagon or tent, and have people come in for miles around just to hear you speak, are mostly gone. People now expect clean, modern, well-maintained facilities, with good heating, air-conditioning, good lighting, handicap elevators, a professional staff, professional-looking materials, and a well-developed program.

Most people will no longer sit still for the "hard sell" or the spiritual guilt-trip. Nor will they participate in church "just because" the church is there, or because they grew up there, or because their mothers and fathers did.

People today want options, and they want spiritual experiences that "speak" to them in clear and personally relevant ways.

Next: What People Want From Their Church ...
About the Author

Christopher B. Nelson-Jeffers is CEO of Breckshire Communications, which offers a free Church Growth Newsletter and articles to churches interested in church ministry development. He may be contacted at Double Your Church Attendence


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