We've been discussing the 5 stages of a healthy creative process. This process can be used no matter what size or scope the activity has. The first stages we've reviewed in past blog posts is to define the objective, brainstorming, and development. In this post, we will cover the final two stages.
Stage 4: Implementation
Production teams are engaged, and plans, schedules, rehearsals begin to take shape. If all went well in the development stage, things should come together fairly smoothly. But don't be fooled — the element of surprise may be lurking! Prepare yourself for it by being ready for anything, so your reaction is controlled! Weather prevents a delivery truck from getting there on time. A stage set piece falls over and breaks. The lead singer is sick and cannot make it to the final rehearsal. These plot twists are event planning, and you were made for this!
Part of the implementation stage is the event itself. No matter what has happened to this point, remember the objective. Be attentive to the responses and reactions of the participants. People often d in ways you didn't expect. Some things go better, while others not as well. Make mental notes and jot them down later. These will be helpful in the fifth and final stage of creative planning.
Stage 5: Evaluation
This stage is seldom done in churches because the next thing to move on to! But you and your team can learn so much during this stage. You learn to get better and to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over. You discover what worked well and what didn't meet your expectations. You evaluate the creative process itself and ways to make that better. Of all the valuable insights during this crucial stage, the essential is this: did you meet your objective?
This question is easy to ask but even more natural to brush aside. In churches, the answer might sound like this: "Yes! People enjoyed it! Yes, a lot of people received ministry. " Yes, we had lots of people from the community who attended." These are not wrong responses, but they are typical and generalized. If you were intentionally specific with your objective in the first stage, you should be as thorough with this answer.
So, rather than ask a closed question like, "Did we meet the objective," consider asking how or in what ways did you meet it.
The five-stage process of creative planning — Defining the Objective, Brainstorming, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation — is scalable and can be applied to any preparation, not just event-planning.
Another reason church planners may neglect the evaluation stage is that it can be challenging to get everyone together to talk about an event after it's over. Christmas services are the most difficult because of the busyness with vacations and the new year immediately following.
Consider reserving the post-event gatherings for bigger events like Christmas or Easter. For others, you can use an online survey. Here's a free survey we created for you to use. Feel free to modify it to fit your tone or needs. Send it to as many people as you would like feedback from. If your participants go beyond the internal planning team, make sure the questions are appropriate for their vantage point. Internal language can be confusing to them.
The five-stage process of creative planning — Defining the Objective, Brainstorming, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation — is scalable and can be applied to any preparation, not just event-planning. Of course, each stage will look a little different, depending on the complexity or simplicity of the activity.
If you would like more help in the area of Creative Process Development, we are ready and able to assist you! Contact us to chat about the possibilities!
Don Wambolt has over 25 years' experience in leading church communications. More