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Plan an Awesome Recreation Ministry for Adults
By: John Garner

Discipleship can be enhanced in an atmosphere of relational fellowship and interaction. The personal interaction of people during fellowship can provide encouragement and even ministry possibilities.

Often, fellowship is planned with a purpose in mind: to build the group, to introduce new members, or to introduce a new area of study. Sometimes it is light-hearted; sometimes it is introspective and deep.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan recreation and fellowship for the adult members of your congregation.

Have a purpose for each event. Come up with a catchy name for the event. Tie the event to a season, activity, celebration, etc.

Work with a social committee. Have as many folks on subcommittees as possible. Each subcommittee should have a meaningful job to do. Each subcommittee chairperson is on the larger planning committee.

Promote the event as creatively as possible: signs/posters, banners, direct mail, newsletter announcements, and fliers. Radio, TV, and newspapers will promote an event if the community appeal is broad enough.

Plan the event at a time convenient to the largest possible audience.

Keep the fuss and muss down to a minimum.

Provide a program that has a beginning, a middle, and an end; follows a theme; involves participants; and includes some or all of the following: fellowship/interaction, music, drama/skits, games, decorations, food, and inspiration.

Always be open to guests. Times of fellowship may provide more opportunity than any other activity for involvement and inclusion of non-members. If openness is characteristic of your group's meetings, the opportunity exists for reaching out to those who may need social contact and spiritual help.

10 Steps to Recreation and Sports Ministry Programming
Developing recreation and sports ministry programming is viewed as the process of developing leisure opportunities by manipulating and creating environments that maximize the probability that participant's leisure needs will be satisfactorily met. A process that involves the following steps has proven to be effective.

1. Assessment
Goal setting and determination of appropriate activities requires an understanding of participant needs, skills, abilities, disabilities, interests, and attitudes. The application of appropriate assessment instruments and techniques can provide this information.

2. Goals and Objectives
Once assessment is completed, the programmer must then set appropriate goals and objectives to (1) provide direction for the planning and delivery of the program and (2) provide a basis for the evaluation of the effectiveness of program delivery. Specifically developed performance/behavioral objectives will clarify expected outcomes and facilitate both the planning and evaluation process.

3. Leadership
Leadership is a key element of any program. Job descriptions must be developed so that leadership secured will qualify in terms of both education and experience.

4. Facilities
Facility needs of the program must be carefully considered. Although programs may be conducted with less than ideal facilities, the effectiveness and efficiency of program delivery is dependent upon appropriate facilities. The design, dimensions, accessibility, safety, storage, lighting, temperature, acoustics, and other similar factors must be considered.

5. Equipment/Supplies
Specific equipment and supply needs of the program must be determined. What is presently available and what must be secured? From what sources might the needed equipment or supplies be secured?

6. Cost/Budget
Determine projected revenue, if any, as compared to projected expenditures for this program (i.e., leadership, facilities, equipment/supplies, promotion, etc.). Summarize in appropriate budgetary format.

7. Schedule
Establish dates, times, length of sessions, and sequence of sessions for experiences to be provided.

8. Promotion/Marketing
For people to benefit from a program they must first be aware that the program exists and be motivated to participate. Examine all promotional techniques, identify those that might be appropriate for this program, and specifically develop a computer-generated brochure/flier to promote your program.

9. Operation
This step involves the logistics of the program; the identification of registration procedures (registration, fee collection, refunds, etc.); and a projected timetable for carrying out the various administrative details inherent in the total programming process (i.e., securing leadership, ordering equipment and supplies, reserving facilities, and others).

10. Evaluation
It is essential that the program be carefully evaluated in terms of established performance/behavioral objectives. Both formative and summative evaluations of the program should be planned. Evaluation of leadership, facilities, administration, and agency are other areas of evaluation to be addressed.

John Garner is recreation and sports ministry specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources, www.lifeway.com.

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