Case Study: Church Sports and Recreation Ministers Conference
Event: The CSRM Summit is the association’s national conference held annually in April. “We hope to provide education and encouragement to those working in the field of sports ministry within the local church as recreation ministers seeking to changes lives through the tools of sport and recreation,” says Curl. A local church hosts the conference providing facility space for the meetings. The 2012 Summit took place April 18-20, in Rockwall, Texas, and drew 185 attendees.
Venue: The conference was held at Lake Pointe Church’s youth facility. “We love being at a church because our membership can come and see how another church is doing sports ministry first-hand,” Curl says. Next year, the summit is headed to the south side of Chicago at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.
Challenge: Curl struggled with space for the few exhibitors at the show. “We ended up creating tiered-level pricing for the vendors, giving higher visibility space to those on the main level and having an area upstairs where the fee was less,” she says. It was the first time her team had to implement the new pricing structure. It wasn’t necessarily difficult, but it was a new experience.
Volunteers: Board members, sports ministry staff at the host church and other local volunteers assist with registration and transportation as needed. Most volunteers are familiar with CSRM, believe in sports ministry and are happy to serve. “Being that we are very small, there is an incredible sense of family in our organization,” Curl says. “Obviously we have new people each year, but the ‘old-timers’ who come are eager and willing to step in where ever there might be a need. It is a special group.”
Technology: “This year we created an app that we were so excited about, but the company that was the liaison between us and Apple did not come through for us in time,” Curl says. “In the end, we got our money back, but it was a sad experience.” Curl says she’s not so savvy when it comes to technology, and she uses Facebook and Twitter on a limited basis to promote the event. “We had Jeff Hurt, who we met at Rejuvenate [Marketplace] in San Jose, come and speak as a keynote and workshop presenter at this year’s event, and we think he was very helpful in equipping all of our participants, including me and my husband as the conference planners. Maybe we’ll do better next year!”
Favorite Planning Resource: “Honestly, I guess I’d say Rejuvenate Marketplace,” says Curl. “When my husband [Brent] and I come to this event, we get to spend several days just thinking about our conference and how we can implement new ideas into our event. We meet other planners who have way more experience than we do and get some great ideas from them as well.”
Branching Out: International partners from around the world, including Africa, Europe, Australia, Latin America and the Philippines, attend the conference each year. “There is a lot involved in getting them here,” she says, including letters of invitation, scholarship applications, and finding host homes and arrangements for them. “They truly do bring a unique flavor to our event. I believe that it is beneficial for them and for our U.S. participants as well.”