How to Know if Its Time to Cancel the Church Event

This year my church cancelled our annual 4th of July event, and I couldn’t have been more proud. It’s not that I’m not patriotic. I am. It’s just that I couldn’t justify spending a significant amount of time and money on an event that was getting few, if any, people closer to Jesus. The congregation really liked the event. Many in the community even came out to see the fireworks, but it wasn’t getting people connected to our church, which made me ask the question, “Should we even be doing this?” For us, the answer was no.

Let me ask you, is your church doing any events that need to be cancelled? I bet the answer for many of you is yes, although sometimes that’s really hard to admit.

Here are a few ways you can know for sure.

  • The event has no clearly defined win. Why are you doing the event in the first place? Unless you’re getting people closer to Jesus or more connected to the church, then you don’t have a good reason for the event. People showing up is not a win.
  • The event is for people already connected to the church. If you’re going to spend time and money on an event, then it just makes sense to try to get guests there. It should be used as an evangelism tool, not just to entertain or satisfy those already in your church.
  • The event competes with other events in the community. For example, our 4th of July event was one of many in the community. We were basically telling people come to ours, instead of encouraging them to support a community event that would put them around people who need to know Jesus.
  • The event never gets evaluated. No one ever asks the questions: was this a success, was this worth the cost, or why should we do this again? It’s just expected every year, so it keeps getting added to the calendar.
  • The event gets rescheduled to keep church people happy. The event has nothing to do with getting new people connected to the church. It’s all about keeping people from leaving the church.

After you compare your event with this list, you’ll know pretty quickly what should do. Now, the question will be, are you willing to make the tough decision? Leave a comment, and let me know what you decide, and don’t forget to subscribe the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

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4 thoughts on “How to Know if Its Time to Cancel the Church Event

  1. I agree with everything except the comment that people showing up is not a win. You don’t know that. Someone might just show up to an event and have no intentions of ever coming to a church service but somewhere down the road, maybe it is a divorce, a loss of a job or a tragedy that all of a sudden gets them to thinking that they need help or there has to be a reason why. Then they remember that church, the one that did this event and how good it was and think, I think we’ll go check them out.
    That scenario has been replayed countless numbers of times in 27 years of ministry for me. Again, I agree with what you said but that comment is way off the mark because you have no idea what God’s intentions are with those who attend!

    • Hey John,
      Thanks for the comment. There are certainly occasions when those things do happen, yet I don’t think it’s wise to spend time and money on an event based on that factor. I don’t think it’s the best investment. What I would encourage pastors to do is figure out a way to get info from people at their event so they can follow up with them and invite them to a new series your church is doing. Doing something like that has a better return on your investment.

    • I would agree with you, but feel we need to not do events just to do events. We are looking at ways to define why we do event in our Church. Our youth group is looking at ways to make the events connect directly to the students they serve and ways for our students to take ownership of the events. I think if you have people passionate about events then they have purpose. If not then they just are there to be there

  2. I love this our church has two or three of these events. We have started to pair them down we gave up our 4th of July event this year. We still have an event in September that I would not mind seeing changed or cancelled. We do the same things year after year and mixing them up would be great for us. Thank you for the list we can use to create a defined evaluation for our events.