BIG DAY – Run By Our “Chiefs”

One of the terms I unashamedly ripped off of Stillwater’s Men’s Advance is the team leaders–or chiefs.

The Preaching Rally is divided into several different areas, listed below. A chief is designated over each area and is given the responsibility and authority to do as much as possible to make his or her area run smoothly.



  • Oversee “PR_Master” spreadsheet of all potential churches attending
  • Track number of registered attendees
  • Call through list for potential attendees
  • Collect funds and updated information from churches that attend
  • Report pre-PR and post-PR numbers to RR



  • Greet each guest
  • Distribute booklets, pens and bookmarks
  • Provide friendly direction (restrooms, food, sanctuary, etc.)



  • Prepare for 450 guests
  • Feed guests quickly at the cookie break
  • Feed guests quickly at lunch
  • Clean up food area



  • Write, plan, get actors, rehearse and perform hilarious but pointed skits for the PR.



  • Prepare landscape and building maintenance for PR.



  • Prepare for and guide buses and vehicles clearly and quickly to proper parking places.


Packet Assembly

  • Form a crew of people who can assemble mailings and handouts.



  • Plan decorations on the theme – indoor and outdoor
  • Use teams to prepare and do all decorating the week of the PR
  • Clean up decorations after the PR.



  • Create all graphics for the PR – printed and digital



  • Update website pages with new information as it comes out (mailings, graphics, pictures, next year’s info…)



  • Clean buildings before, during and after PR.



  • Test and run all media (on screens)
  • Test and run all sound (background music, platform mics for specials, preaching and announcements)



  • Nursery and childcare for all kids present



  • Take pictures throughout the day
  • Share best 50 pictures the evening of the PR to use for Sunday following.


Recruiting Our First Chiefs

All right I’ll admit it… It is therapy time. On our very first Preaching Rally, I went a little over the top on trying to make sure everything ran smoothly. I mean… details, man! Prior to the Preaching Rally, our church had seldom hosted an event of this size or magnitude, so we treated every small detail as if it was a big deal.

Pastor and I chose various people from the church who would fill these chief roles well, and we approached them individually to see if they would be willing and able to do what was asked of them. Each person agreed.


Introductory Letter

Following our conversation, we sent each chief a letter (below) explaining the overall importance of their role in the Preaching Rally, and asking them to constantly improve their area.


Dear “Chief,”

First of all, thank you for agreeing to take your area of responsibility. It means a whole lot to see God’s people being involved in work that will help form lives, and I am privileged to work with you.  Pastor preached a great message a few weeks ago during the overcomer’s series, and one of the points was that we should have eyes of faith like Caleb had.  As vivid a picture as our imaginations allow us to draw (remember the scene from Mark Twain?), how much more amazing would it be if we allowed God to paint the picture in our mind’s eye!


With the fast-approaching Preaching Rally that we are hosting here in February, I cannot oversee each part and still attain the level of excellence that I am envisioning for the meeting. Therefore, your part in the overall success and impact of the meeting is absolutely vital.

What I ask of you is that you take complete ownership of your area, and know “your baby” inside and out. Think through every single little detail of what will need to be bought, planned, or readied ahead of time, and look for every way to make it better, faster, cleaner, sharper, more efficient, and in all other ways… PERFECT!

While I will maintain responsibility for the whole Rally, I will expect that you assume your own responsibility for the area(s) you run.  In my mind, our whole church will benefit once more and more people buy into the “ownership” mentality of ministry. If each person took his or her job as seriously and personally as possible, we’d have a lot less blame shifting and we’d get a whole lot more done (initiative, improvements, details taken care of etc.)


Start-to-Finish Plan

Part of your responsibility will be to formulate a start-to-finish plan. Think through what “wild success” would look like in your area if you had all the resources and all the money in the world (seriously, think in those terms.  It’s even fun!), and figure out the closest you can come to that. Then, figure out how to get there.

Think through the day of the event and come at it from the visiting youth pastor’s eye, then from the teen’s eye, then from my eye, then from Pastor’s eye, then from your critical OCD friend/relative’s eye, etc. Will people know where to go? How much to pay? When to sit? Where to look? Will your area enhance the overall message? Could there be things that go wrong? What are they, and how will they be fixed? What will the improvements be for next year, and is it something we can do this year?  Think, think, and then think some more.

If you wouldn’t mind having that plan to me ASAP (perhaps by the next service, or emailed to me in a couple days?), I’d really appreciate it.  While some areas may not be as intensive as others, each area will need considerable thought.  If you could let me know where your area is headed, we can consider where it fits in the whole event.

Personnel Needs

Also, please list how many people you will need.  If you take the ownership seriously and recruit your own workers, that will be great, but please keep me “in the loop” on who you use and at what times you will need them.  What I will be working towards is LOTS of involvement, and when we have our big meeting on Jan. 9 we will assign workers to you as needed.  I don’t know yet whether it will be a signup sheet or something else, but I’ll need to know how many people you will need and when you will need them.  Again, please feel free to get help before then as needed; it will only help you not be crunched for time in case we don’t get the volunteers.


I’ll work on meeting with you regularly, and if you ever need to contact me about some personal time to talk through your area, I’ll be more than happy to do so.  Please just email me or catch me at church to set up a time that will work for both of us, and we will do our best to work some things out.  I’ll do my best to get with you on more details, but it would help me to have you ask the questions so I know you’re (once again) owning your area.


I certainly won’t be able to do this alone, and I hope you understand that I’m VERY grateful for your help.

In faith,

Ryan Rench



Follow-up Letter

Just before our first church-wide meeting, after discussing the chief’s plans individually, I sent this reminder letter to each chief to finalize any last-minute details:


December 28

Dear “Chief,”

I had some spare paper, so I thought I would write a letter instead of an email.  That’s not a very professional way to start a letter, but I know you will forgive me.

Well, we are coming up on the January 9 meeting, and I am hoping to really “crank up” my planning and thinking for the Preaching Rally.  Now that Christmas is over and things are starting to get back into a routine, I think we will be running pretty strong from here on, and I want everyone to be on the same page from the very beginning.  As always, if you have any questions, please ask!  If I am who you’re waiting on, please let me know so I can get back with you.  

Before the meeting, I will need to hear from each of you, particularly on how many volunteers you will need for your area of responsibility.  If you have not already solicited your own help, we will take care of that at the meeting, along with a few other things.

Further, I am still waiting on a written plan from each of you on what you will be doing, what materials you might need, how many volunteers you might need, how the day will run for you, what your area might cost, who is in charge of what, etc.  Please submit as many details as you can as quickly as possible, and please submit all questions you might have.  It’s all right if you don’t even have a clue of what’s going on… I can explain whatever you’d like if I know where you need help.  Again, if you need to schedule a meeting with me to talk through some of these things, please let me know.

How we conduct this first Preaching Rally will say a lot about our church, and how our leaders (you) own their areas will determine how the Rally goes.  Please do as much thinking as you can on this over the next week, and please update me often if your area has any changes.

Thank you very much for your help and cooperation!  I can’t wait for the Rally, and I hope you always remember the reason and the significance behind your job.

In faith,

Ryan Rench


Delegate and Follow Through

If I delegate a task to a chief, I try to follow through with them as much as I need. I will usually just catch them at church and ask if they need anything, or ask how their plans are going. This is usually enough for me to know that 1) They are thinking through their own details, 2) They have a plan in place, and 3) It will get taken care of.

Some areas require that I approve some of their planning. For example, I like to know what the decorations will be so I can adjust them, if needed. Other areas have been done well for so long that I never think of them any more. I trust the chief enough to do a job well done. Still other areas require little or no planning, and are done with a few volunteers (cleaning up, for example).

When I delegate to the chiefs, I try to communicate the following:

  • how much time it might take them
  • what exactly the end goal might look like, leaving room for their ideas and allowing them to plan how to make it happen
  • that I want to hear from them – updates, questions, concerns, etc.
  • that he or she is responsible for their area

For example, I might delegate to the food chief that I want all 400 people fed pizza and soda in 15 minutes, and that he (the chief) is to plan the workers, the paper goods, the table layouts, the food purchases, the seating, the cleanup and the flow of traffic from start to finish. How he accomplishes that is up to him. Over the years, we have taken extensive notes on these things, but the chief has the freedom to improve them as he sees fit. He has to realize, though, that in taking responsibility for his area, he owns the mistakes, too. If he makes a change that slows the flow of traffic, he has to answer for it.

Another example is the skit chief. I send him the Guidance Document that outlines the general goal of each session, and he writes skits, recruits actors, gathers props, schedules rehearsals and oversees the skits throughout the two months leading up to the Preaching Rally.

In delegating, I do not give each chief a step-by-step list of all the things I want them to do. Rather, I provide the direction while they provide the details.


Owning Their Area

I recently read a book by a couple of Navy SEALs that drove home the importance of owning any responsibility we are given. They said that in the military, owning their role is many times a matter of life or death. Even when their decisions are not life-threatening, the concept of ownership is crucial to grasp in life.

When delegating to chiefs, I try to stress the importance of owning their area. I try to help them see that this is their baby, not mine. If they can learn to see their area’s need for improvement, I will not have to be the bad guy and point it out to them.

A chief that owns his or her area will recognize and improve the area without having to be told, because he or she cares as deeply (or more deeply) as I do. Photographers that own their area will take excellent pictures and deliver them as quickly as possible because they see the importance of visuals in today’s world. A food chief that owns his area will want to move the crowd ever faster–not because I told him to–but because it is a sort of game to him, and he is always trying to one-up himself. He is always trying to make his role better.

As the chief, he is the answer-man. His team should go to him with questions and concerns, and he should be the one person that everyone involved in the Preaching Rally preparations knows is the contact for that area.

Do I Do This Well?

Do I oversee my chiefs well? Nope. Part of that is good, and part of it is bad.

The good part is, I trust the long-term chiefs to do their jobs well, because they have done it well for so many years now. The bad part is, I let things slip, and I have no one to blame but myself. Part of the reason for writing this down is to force myself to rethink my role in some of these areas. The problem with my chiefs is that they are SO good at what they do.

*sigh. Maybe I will have to start crackin’ the whip again.