As a youth communicator I enjoy speaking to youth at all types of events, schools, and engagements in almost every demographic. I must admit there have been times that I could anticipate the disappointment coming, as the ambitious youth minister begins to see the event not shaping up as planned. Of course there will always be glitches, interruptions, and almost any crazy kind of thing to happen when you least expect it. I have found however that when you instead master the four "P's" of youth event planning you can rest assured you've done your best and you leave the rest up to God.
Too often we think of an idea for an event and immediately believe we have to do all of the planning. Planning should include not only adults but youth as well. Give yourself plenty of time, set up several planning/brainstorming sessions and thoroughly plan your event. Make sure you think about the theme, the flow, invitees, music, and food.
Planning is the easy part. Where most lose ground is during preparation. To prepare for your event you must meticulously go through the event from beginning to end, as if you are doing it, documenting as if you are doing it, every person, prop, mic, or resource item you need. Going to have greeters? Who will they be? What will they say? Will they have handouts? Going to have food? Who will cook? What about cups, plates and napkins? Adequate preparation will guarantee your event comes off without hitch.
Promotion is an art unto itself. Our youth today are very busy. Parent's are busy. Schools have complex demanding schedules. We can't expect students to show up at an event after seeing the invite in the bulletin and only hearing about it one time before that two weeks ago. Plan far enough in advance that they can see the event on the calendar and post on the fridge for parents and students. Use Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging to get the message out. Be creative.
Of course performing is the easy part. When the time comes to execute the plan, with confidence empower your team enjoy all the hard work and trust God with the results!