Trey McKnight runs BigStuf Camps. Like many/most of us, they had to pivot this year due to the pandemic. At Youth Ministry Exchange, he shared some great thoughts around the importance of events and how to think about changing events moving forward.

Here are my notes from his breakout session:

1. Events are (still) important. Why? Because…

  • Students are experiential.
  • Outreach can happen.
  • Relationships are built there.

Article recommendation: “4 Ways the Pandemic is Negatively Impacting People” by David Kinnaman

Questions to think about:

  • How am I preparing for increased anxiety and stress levels among students?
  • What systems do we have in place to serve those seeking aid from the church?
  • How can we repurpose funds, resources, or people that would normally fit into weekly use for event creation and development?

2. Events are (still) catalytic. Why? Because…

  • They can affect life-change.
  • They can offer hope.

Students want to be seen, known, heard, and understood. They want to belong.

Questions to think about:

  • What’s at stake if I don’t create a more intentional event strategy?
  • What opportunities are present to reach a student or groups of students who otherwise wouldn’t have been open? (Example: Sports that are not currently happening.)

Important to remember: Neither physical nor digital is going anywhere. 

Phygital = Both physical and digital need to co-exist and work together.

3. How we do events must change.

  • What does it look like in my community to create meaningful personal connections if we are socially distant? (Climate, legal restrictions, church leadership, parents, etc.)
  • What does it look like for a student who isn’t allowed to meet in person to still have a place to belong and still be connected to an adult leader. (Not just watching online and video calls with their groups)
    • What are some better ways to keep students connected?
    • Does this require a new group of leaders?
    • Remember that time on their turf goes a long way.
  • How can you partner with parents to ensure students are connected and engaged?
    • We should parents zero guilt. They will come back when then are ready. This is an opportunity to support them and gain their trust.

If events don’t lead somewhere, they won’t make a difference.

  • The big event should never be the main event.
  • How does your event setup what happens in a student’s small group?

Events are worth it. They can be a part of students’ discipleship journey. We have the opportunity to create those experiences.

Questions to ask:

  • What is your overall strategy for the discipleship journey?
  • How does this event fit into our overall, annual, quarterly strategy for outreach, connection, discipleship, and growth of my students and leaders?
  • How are we helping students continue their journey after the big event?
  • What needs to stay and what needs to go?

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How have you had to pivot for your events? What has worked, and what hasn’t worked? What are you thinking about doing for future events?

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