BIG DAY – The Last (and Maybe the Most Important) Step To Any Big Day

I scrolled through my Twitter feed today and saw a picture of a big shot UFC fighter that recently got knocked out. The picture was from a businessman, and the caption read, “There’s no ‘undefeated’ in entrepreneurship.” Every entrepreneur fails. Every great entrepreneur learns from failure.

I do not mind making mistakes. I just hate making the same mistakes twice.

I embrace mistakes. They are opportunities to improve. But one only improves when he is intentional about learning the lesson.

Our Preaching Rallies are embarrassingly riddled with mistakes. I’ve messed a lot of things up. We have been inefficient with our time, our crowd control, our money. But–I hope–over the years, we keep getting better. We do this by noting our improvements and working to implement them the following year.


How We Get Improvements

Notice. The BIGGEST improvements come through my own two eyes, because I will be my own harshest critic. I like my own criticism. I don’t hurt my feelings like other critics do. I like when I can say to someone, “Yes, you’re totally right about that. I need to work on that, and here’s how I’ll try to do that.” When I have had a chance to think about the improvements myself, it is not such a bombshell in my soul when the critic brings up an improvement. Not only do I notice my OWN improvements, but all the chiefs notice their own, as well. No one knows their areas like a chief who is owning his ministry, so the chief is my go-to contact for hyper-specific improvements.

Ask. Another way we get improvements is by asking for them. At the Men’s Advance in Stillwater, OK, all 1,800 attendees get a comment form, and they are encouraged to fill them out. I guess I am not that brave yet. I only give them to the youth workers and ask them to help me by noting any–ANY–improvement they can think of. I have been to conferences that, if only I were asked, I think I could have helped by adding a new perspective, helping them be better. No one feels like they should speak up if they see a problem, but that is bad! If they see a problem, it is probably not only they who see it! Comment forms bring out problems, but problems can be resolved, as long as we know about them. So ask.

Wrap-up meeting. After Sunday night services, all the chiefs and other key leaders meet together to brainstorm about each area’s improvements. Each chief comes to the meeting with his or her own improvements, and then the group discusses each area and notes other improvements. This information is collected and added to our Preaching Rally notes to reference the next year.


Wrap-up Meeting Notes

The following is a copy of some of our wrap-up notes from one year. This includes discussion questions, verbal notes given during the meeting, and written notes submitted by each chief.

Opening meeting comments: Improvements are the things that none of us like to hear but they are absolutely necessary. If I can convey the spirit and you can catch that mindset, I think you’ll be able to see that it’s for the best. I never want to come across that we didn’t do a good job and that I don’t appreciate your work. I would, however, like to be very firm and come down on things that simply take thinking power, especially now that we have some time under our belts. All this disclaimer, though, is to assure you that I’m VERY excited about what God did, but I also want to be true to what he’s called us to do and improve any way we can. Any time we have an opportunity to do something better, use his resources more efficiently, know God better, etc. it’s a good thing.

Follow-up Notes

Follow-up meeting to discuss improvements and what worked better this year than last year.


  1. When you make a purchase for PR, please give a copy of the receipt to Ryan before giving the original receipt to Dan or Pastor.  The original can be turned in to Ryan and he can make the copies for you.  Either way, Ryan just needs to see all expenses so we can keep better track of the PR budget.


Coordinate greeters with bus arrivals

  1.    Select teen male and female greeter team properly dressed in church attire to stand at the entrance of the parking lot.  Sets the tone of professionalism for first impression of our church.
  2.   Have teen male and female greeter team corral the group as they come off the bus.  This will keep them from stringing out into a long line.  In turn, it will then provide the greeter an easier way to address them as a group instead of having to repeat and repeat instructions of where to go and what to do.
  3.    Next year park buses differently so when everyone comes back out to board their bus they won’t be waiting on others to cross their paths or running over children.

Bill to provide a diagram and more notes.


  1.    Groups that are rehearsing for the Preaching Rally need to be dressed appropriately with their ties on ect… so that pictures can be taken during dress rehearsal.  It is easier for the photographer to get pictures during rehearsal as no one is in the way and they can get better angles.
  2.   Reserve seats for the photographers/media people in both the back and the front of the sanctuary.  It was impossible for them to get seats, therefore, very uncomfortable at times for the photographer.
  3.    This year’s pictures were even better than previous years because we got more pictures of our “own” young people.  This will help us all year long for such things as our annual calendar or other activities when we need pictures of our youth.  It was really easy to put together the “Preaching Rally in Review” print out.  More interesting to our church family.


  1.    Thursday night better for practices
  2.   The morning of the PR we will have some groups arrive at 9a.m. for sound checks and 9:30a.m. for other groups.  It makes for a long day to start any earlier.
  3.    Great job Ryan Baker.

Stage Hands 

  1.    They need a line by line review next year.  They made a couple of mistakes this year during the skit.


  1. Need a rain contingency for seating and serving food.  Deacons are working on the project to get the outside seating area covered.  Also, a suggestion to bring pop ups for covering.
  2. Move tables more to the front of the gym.  (Jamie is going to add Ron’s notes and she has drawn a diagram to add to food notes)
  3. Chip servers for the chips
  4. Need more chairs and, also, possibly put chairs outside
  5. There was too much congestion around the serving area
  6. 4 types of soda
  7. Servers need to be behind the drink tables to serve water
  8. Need a patrol with yellow vests “parking crew” to make sure no one takes food inside the church.
  9. Also, the parking lot crew with vests need to keep guests from bunching up at the bottom of the stairs outside the church when it is time to food or desserts.
  10.  Make 4 separate spots to get dessert and make them close to the parking lot.
  11.   Little Caesar’s Pizza was great!  Use again next year.  They delivered and gave us 5 free pizzas.
  12.  Get 75% pepperoni and 25% cheese instead of half and half.


  1.    They change each year, but it is good to start with a group game in the beginning where no one gets out of their seats.
  2. Role play through all PR games – think through all things needed. Missed towels and blindfolds for the youth pastors in 2013 eating game. I was so focused on the gag that I didn’t prep right.
  3. Also, I didn’t communicate clearly or early enough to the helpers for the game to work correctly.
  4. Delegate all games to someone??



  1.    11:20 needs to be the “drop dead” deadline for seating.
  2.   Ushers need to make sure they are seating people from the very beginning to the front of the sanctuary.  FILL THE FRONT FIRST and try not to spread them out too much.  We know approximately how many we are expecting so work the numbers.  Make sure ushers know if there are late groups so they can plan a space for them.


  1.    We would like to provide a nursery in the future.  We just had the cry room available and the tv turned on in the nursery in 2014.  There were at least 4 babies (1 toddler, 3 babies).  One church backed out because of no nursery.
  2.   People had volunteered, but it was divided into 2 large time slots…a long time to work in the nursery.
  3.    Jamie worked on a tentative schedule for nursery and saved it in the PR folder on the server.  There are now 3 slots (6 ladies needed), each 1.5 hrs.


  1.    Greeters sat teens while registration signed in the Church Youth Pastor and his group.  Made for less confusion.
  2.   Teen group list needs to be separate next year. Teen youth coordinator needs to provide the list they have registered the teens with and taken their payment.

We will add more to the notes as we get them from our Team Chiefs.


  1. Used Christine, Donna, Renee, Gina, Skye and myself.
  2. Had partial decorations up 1 week in advance as a teaser and to build excitement.
  3. Used 4 ft. black paper on walls and put white paper on top for checkerboard effect.
  4.  Donna made banana boats out of palm fronds, a cardboard freezer and sign of name of store.
  5. Estimated cost $150, for paper, tape.
  6. Left decorations up for the following Sunday
  7. Gina took pictures on day of decorating.



  1. Used strong outdoor tape that took off paint.
  2. Tape only holding 5 lbs. didn’t hold up black wall paper, weight of paper always brings it down.
  3. Teens stayed one hour after to help clean up.  Some helped and stayed, most left after only an hour.
  4. Need man to check bathrooms during breaks and lunch.  Couldn’t get to everything and can’t go in men’s bathrooms all day.  Need one more cleaner.  Emma was gone so was short handed.

Music Practices: Don’t put ladies ensemble or other groups next to PR because practices overlap for those that are in both groups.

PR Run-Through: Free up Fri. night with some time alone in the sanctuary to work through everything.

Skits. Outsource the skits sooner.