Start with a Unique Idea People Want to Experience
The problem with most events is that they aren’t unique. Movie nights, air soft and paintball wars, game nights, Christmas parties, etc. may be fun, but they aren’t unique experiences. They’re just bigger versions of what students can do on their own.
To get a huge crowd, you need a unique experience.
The other important part is making sure your idea is something people actually want to experience.
Hit Your Head With a Hammer Night may be unique, catchy and gimmicky, but I don’t want to experience it. Battle of the praise bands may be a unique idea, but you’ll only attract a bunch of church goers.
Party for 500, Egg Hunt for 1,700
To get 500 teenagers, we threw a Christmas party at the local middle school with a mechanical bull, inflatables in the gym, video game room, live music, pizza, and a smash-a-thon where we destroyed a bunch of fruit in the cafeteria.
By far the mechanical bull was the most expensive aspect of the event. It was also the unique attraction which everyone wants to try but few have had the opportunity. It was our unique attraction which pushed the event from “good” to “must experience.”
Our event with 1,700 people was a festival followed by an Easter egg hunt. What was the unique experience? – The eggs were dropped from a helicopter (another idea I stole from other churches). Really, the helicopter is just a gimmick, but it works.
To find your unique idea, you need to know your surrounding culture. If there’s absolutely no live music venues, throwing a concert can draw a huge crowed. However, if your church is in downtown Austin Texas where there are more concert venues than people, a concert is not a unique idea.
A Super Bowl party is a good idea (I threw one), but it isn’t a unique idea.
The best ideas will touch on something which is missing from your local culture. The worst place to find a great idea is at the church down the street. With that said, looking outside of our local culture is tricky because ideas don’t exist within a vacuum. A great idea in suburban California will not be a great idea in rural Texas.