mistakes event planning

This month, Ministry to Parents’ focus is on Build a Parent Ministry Plan through Organization. We asked Dan Istvanik, author of the Annual All-In-One Event Kit, a student pastor, and the student ministry team lead at Keystone Fellowship Church to share with leaders four mistakes of event planning.



Connections are essential to church leaders because they act as the glue that makes the truths and relationships stick. Leaders desire to connect students to God, His Word, and others through regular gatherings with Bible teaching and discussion. While our weekly scheduled times are powerful, kids and students need other strong moments to bond socially. That is why you create events.

Events take kids and students out of their routine and give them opportunities to make the truths learned in weekly groups adhere to their lives. Events can be peer-to-peer sticky moments, opportunities to solidify connections with adult leaders, but most importantly, they are great occasions to create unity with parents. 

The strain and stress of running events pull on leaders, and they can quickly find themselves coming UNGLUED in the process. That’s why we created two great toolbox resources for M2P Members: “How To Organize A Children’s Ministry Event” and “How To Organize A Student Ministry Event.” Our goal is to give you the tools to organize and plan successful events. As you use the guides, you will find some great “how-to’s.”

However, I want to use this blog to offer some additional “how-to-not’s!” Below are four mistakes to avoid becoming UNGLUED planning your upcoming events.  

STICK with it! 

Like those little glue sticks in your children’s ministry area that have been around for decades, it’s crucial to stick with it little by little! One of the mistakes ministries make in event planning is to announce a big idea and then not stick to the plan. They decide to host an event without much thought or process, reveal the big idea, and then continually change the details once they begin to plan.  

Nothing is more frustrating for a team than to start working on a big plan only for it to change along the way. It is like trying to shove a glue stick back in the tube over and over again. It just gets messy.

Instead of rushing in, slowly plan and process, and then make the appropriate decisions. Little by little, reveal the required action steps and the direction you want to go. Stick with the original plan and don’t spread yourself too thin. Otherwise, all the plans will quickly come unglued. 

RUBBER cement! 

“I am rubber, and you are glue, what bounces off of me, sticks to you!”  This saying is a classic one from the schoolyard and the Sunday School classroom. To sum it up, don’t listen to the haters. There will always be people with something negative to say. There will always be people who have a list of reasons why something won’t work or why people won’t attend. 

If you have done your research, asked the right questions, and planned well in the beginning, you can choose not to listen. Allow the negativity to bounce off like rubber. One of the fastest ways to come unglued is to listen to the negative voices. When you cement yourself in proper planning, you can allow those people and comments to “bounce” out of your mind.

Feel the SQUEEZE! 

Time is as valuable as money, resources, and people. Like the classic bottle of Elmer’s, don’t get almost to the end of a project and realize you ran out. Running short on time will make you and others feel unglued. It can turn your event planning upside down as you work to shake out whatever time is left.

To avoid the squeeze, plan your time wisely. Assign each step a time frame. There is nothing worse than feeling the squeeze right before an event because there are still things that need to get done. Use your calendar and plan well. 

Don’t be CRAZY! 

There is always another church or ministry doing it bigger and better. Your ministry may book a DJ, but the church down the road books a live band. You are excited about the upcoming Easter egg hunt, but they are dropping Easter eggs out of a helicopter. It is enough to make you crazy–if you let it.

One of the biggest mistakes that cause so many in ministry to come unglued is the comparison game. Ministries are continually trying to be just a little crazier than the place down the road. Let your event be your event. Do an event that fits your people, budget, and style.

Ultimately, the glue in our planning is Jesus Christ. Beyond the agendas, calendars, and budgets, keep your focus on the purpose of events–bonding people to Christ. May your activities be low-stress, and your relationship with Him be sealed in His grace!

Written by Dan Istvanik, who is a student pastor and the student ministry team lead at Keystone Fellowship Church, a multi-site church outside of Philadelphia, PA. He has been working in youth ministry for 25 years, serving in churches in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Washington DC.  He is a speaker, ministry coach, writer, and contributor to other ministry resources. You can contact Dan at www.mymresources.com, where he shares student ministry resources.

For other posts on how to Build a Parent Ministry Plan:

Why Leaders, Directors, and Ministers Need To Be Organized

4 Examples of an Event Program for Parent Ministry

4 Parent Events to Offer this Year

Why Should You Minister To Parents?

Want More Help Getting Organized?

The Annual All-In-One Event Kit includes everything you need to coordinate these 4 Parent/Student events: The UpGrade, Father/Daughter Dance, Mother/Son Nerf Night and Family Splash Day.

For more, click HERE.

parent event kit