Last week I posted ideas to consider to make an event an intentional next step in a discipleship journey BEFORE the event. You can find that blog post here. This week we’ll chat a bit about extending your event into something more AFTER the event.

Discipleship AFTER an event might look like….

  • Being prepared to share ‘next steps’ for those in attendance by announcement at the end AND a followup email a day or so after the event with links and a few more details to all those in attendance. This is one of the most important reasons to have online registration. Online registration offers tools to communicate next steps to those who attended the event with curated opportunities already prepared ready to receive inquiries, details, and a commitment to participate. Ex: Easter Sunday is a big deal in the church world. But as we prepare for Easter Sunday, what will be offered to help people along their discipleship journey afterwards? Easter Sunday can NOT be a one-and-done event. As much thought needs to go into after-Easter as Easter Sunday. Jesus showed himself to more than 500 people AFTER Easter Sunday. Are you as prepared for AFTER as you are ON Easter Sunday?
  • Story: There were four activities about to take place in our community (not just our church) in the next month which were perfect next steps for the ladies who attended the Ladies & Mother-Daughter Heart & Cookie Exchange (think a Christmas ornament exchange but in February because December is WAY too busy). I made the announcements at the end of the event. The next day I sent an email to those who registered and attended with follow-up well-wishes and links to the four activities mentioned in the announcements. A few hours later a Sunday school class forwarded one of the events as a shared experience for the ladies in that class and tickets are now being purchased and plans made to gather to take that next step together. This also affirms that most folks today want to participate in social events ‘with a friend’ or ‘as a group’. Making it easy to do so is a way to help disciples of Jesus know what’s coming up AND who else wants to share the journey. Laying it out there what the next step is makes for an intentional discipleship pathway and helps navigate the mega-communication of options. 
  • Taking and posting pictures before, during and after the event extends the event up to several days later. Ex: Campfire Christmas with its sub-zero weather and 30-40 mph winds didn’t keep 100 people from coming out to worship the Lord together as families. As pictures I took and posted AND the pictures posted by families who attended continued to roll in my social media feed, memories and smiles abounded. As they rolled into my feed, I was able to comment with ‘glad you were able to come’, ‘we hope to see you again when it’s warmer’, ‘this was one of my favorite moments, too’. In the algorithm world, those conversations continued and kept rolling in my (and a whole lot of other folks’) social media feed for up to 6 days after the event. 
  • Personal thankful texts within the first hour or two after the event to those who served on the make-it-happen team lets the team of folks you lead know their efforts were important to you and to their family of faith. A text with a picture of them with their family or of a special moment makes it easier for them to post in their own social media feed. Every time they search an image in their devices that photo will be there in the gallery for a sticky faith formation memory in their own list of remarkable faith moments. 
  • Preparing a response for the next week around tables or hallway chats to remind the WHY for the event in conversations when the event is talked about gives a ‘bow on the package’ opportunity to show your intentional purpose for the event. Everyone has their own reasoning for why an event took place, this keeps it within the navigational beacons of the planned WHY and the basis for how it’ll be measured. Be prepared to bring it up in conversation at every opportunity the following week whether your audience attended or not. 
  • Story: Our Finance Ninja is actively involved in another church in our community. With energy and joy I share with her the ‘family stories’ of the previous Sunday and every event as soon as I’m back on campus. She pays the bills and makes us all look good. She’s on my team even if she isn’t there ‘in the moment’. When comments are made or meetings take place, she has some reference and can add to the conversations, extending the narrative beyond the event.

Taking a little time to consider the AFTER can extend your event into the discipleship pathway for the folks who attend, the folks who serve, and the folks who will hear the stories of the event. In the words of the 1991 song by Bonnie Raitt, “Let’s give ‘em something to talk about.”

“The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” Mark 8:8