The Super Bowl is the single largest sporting event in America every year. Two teams have beaten out 30 others to make it to the holy grail of football. And this Sunday, after 3 hours of struggle, one team will earn the privilege of lifting the Lombardy trophy over their heads while confetti rains from the sky.
So, what is your Super Bowl? What is that one event in your job that is a keystone event around which everything else centers? Then, how in the heck do you win the thing?!
A closer look at the behemoth of sporting events will give us insight in how to make you and your organization radically more successful.
In the fall of 2013, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Unleash! Conference at New Spring Church in Anderson, South Carolina. At the time, I was serving as an associate youth pastor of a local church and the theme of the conference was Unleash! Your Youth & Children's Ministry.
I was looking forward to gaining all kinds of insight into how a church that started with 15 people in 2000 had grown to an average attendance of (at the time) 25,000 people. I figured that they must be doing something right.
I had listened to every episode of the lead pastor, Perry Noble's, leadership podcast and countless numbers of their Sunday services. However, I didn't know much about how they structured their church events or meetings during the rest of the week. What I discovered, stunned me.
I assumed that they were hosting meetings for all kinds of groups every day of the week. I assumed that they had hosted classes or groups for every life stage (adult, college, teen, children, nursery) every time the doors were opened. I assumed a church of this size does event programing at a rate and level that rivals a major theme park.
Instead, they had their Sunday services with childcare for ages 12 and below and everyone else went into the main service. They only hosted midweek services for their teens (13-18). Every other small group type meeting was held off campus by volunteer small group leaders.
This church, a church in the top 5 in size and rate of growth, only held one event that included all of its attendees one time per week. How could this work?!
During the conference, I got to hear their philosophy on how they do church as a whole as well as for the youth. They viewed every Sunday as their "Super Bowl". But, in order to bring Super Bowl level quality to every Sunday, they had to scale back the number of events they executed.
Quality over quantity if I've ever seen it.
The Sunday service became their "Super Bowl" because they realized that it was the day/event that had the greatest potential to draw in new comers. It would also have the greatest influence on any of the other events they held during the week or throughout the year. Sunday service uniquely influenced everything they did, so they put most of their effort towards that event.
So, what does this mean for you?
As I thought about this topic, I narrowed down the process of winning your "Super Bowl" to 4 simple steps. These are a combination of what I learned from the Unleash! Conference and what I've observed as I've tried to implement the philosophy of having a "Super Bowl" in different arenas.
1. Discover your "Super Bowl".
Think about all the events that take place in the course of your job or at your organization. This there one that you already know trumps them all? If so, congratulations, and you can move to the next step.
However, I'm sure you, like most people, don't know what that event is. Maybe it is because there are so many events that happen that it has created a "noisy" atmosphere around what it is you and your organization actually do. I don't know your specific situation, but I can tell you that you need to find the equivalent of New Spring Church's Sunday service.
2. Plan like it's the Super Bowl.
During the conference, I sat in one a breakout session on planning a service hosted by one of their creative directors, Kaleb White. The sheer amount of detail and thought that went into each service was as astounding as it was impressive. At the same time, it was incredibly simple because didn't try to stray from their main purpose.
For you, this means that you need take the vision and mission of your organization or event and construct everything you do to communicate it. For New Spring, that means that the songs they sing, the graphics they use, and any handouts they give all point to 1 main message.
Kaleb calls the main message the woman and all the other stuff the earrings. The woman is the main focus and earrings else you do is an accessory. So, on Super Bowl Sunday, you will probably not see many trick plays. You will mostly see the 2 teams work their core philosophies that have gotten them to this ultimate game.
3. Prepare like it's the Super Bowl.
This may seem like the same as planning for your event. Preparing is when you actually get into the actual logistics of your event.
I saw footage of the Seattle Seahawks heading to Arizona to begin preparations for the big game. At this point, they've had a week since their last game and I'm willing to bet that a lot of their time this past week was spent planning. Now, they must start working it out in practices and drills.
Preparation also allows them to see if a plan they have will work like they've thought it would. If it doesn't, then they can rework their idea or get rid of it all together.
Do you rehearse your "Super Bowl"?! Do you run through the ideas you and your team have had? They may have sounded brilliant during your planning meetings, but can you pull them off?
By the end of this step, you should know what will most likely work (because you can't plan for everything) and have scrapped everything you can't pull of with excellence.
4. Execute your plan like you'll never get another chance.
It's game day! No more practice or planning. Win or go home. Sounds like a lot of pressure, right. You're darn right it is!
For the Seahawks and the Patriots this opportunity won't come again for another 365 days! (Quick! Cue Eminem's "Lose Yourself"!)
Something that Pastor Perry has said on many episodes of The Perry Noble Leadership Podcast is that he tells his staff and volunteers that every Sunday it might be someone's first time or their last time to walk through the doors of a church. Therefore, bring your very best to what you're assigned to do.
Execute your plan with fearless tenacity. Like your life depended on it. Why? Cause you don't know if you'll get to again and the potential client in the room or donor at your dinner may be the one that changes everything!
In the world of protestant churches, a person receiving is a very important moment and should be the goal of almost everything a church does. Last year, New Spring Church saw over 10,000 people accept salvation and their average attendance has increased to 31,000 people.
I believe this is due in large part because they discovered their "Super Bowl", planned for it, prepared for it, and executed like they'd never get it again.
That kind of commitment makes a statement to anyone who is on the receiving end (aka your customer). I said in an earlier post that you're never just talking to one person, you're talking to every person that person knows.
So, go out and win your "Super Bowl" this year and watch your organization change and increase their influence and I bet their profits.
What is your Super Bowl?