Recently, a friend invited me to a special event at her church, which was being sponsored by her women's group. It sounded like a great way to check out the church and meet some new people, plus childcare would be provided.
When we arrived, we left our kids in the preschool room with a dozen other children and two adults. After the event, we returned to pick up our sons. The caregivers were chatting with each other while my friend's child busied himself with toy trucks. I didn't see my child. Not yet concerned, I checked around the room, but he wasn't there.
When it became clear the caregivers had no idea when he left or with whom he'd left, my anger was second only to my terror. Imagining my three-year-old abducted, or wandering into traffic, I began to panic. Fortunately, he was found roaming the hallways. But the damage had been done; I never set foot in that church again.
Whenever churches open their doors to the public they expose themselves to both opportunity and risk. A well-run event maximizes the opportunity and takes precautions against the risk.
Communication is key
How do churches ensure the success of their promotional endeavors and protect themselves from liability? Tracy Baer, Event Manager for Christ Community Church (CCC) in South Elgin, Illinois and Don Corbisello, Business Administrator for Christian Life Center (CLC) in Bensalem, Pennsylvania shared their insights.
Tracy has managed many large-scale events including one featuring a 13-foot-tall cucumber named Larry—that's right, Larry the Cucumber of Veggie Tales fame. Others have included hosting contemporary Christian artists such as Superchick, Salvador, and the 33 Miles/Avalon concert. Tracy's church regularly hosts a comedy club, which has been a sold-out event for three years at all three Christ Community Church campuses.