The Executive and Entrepreneurial (or EII) Leadership Forum is a truly amazing outreach where you and your team can live out multiple ministry priorities in a span of 24 hours. A gospel-centered event for upper-class student leaders that directly involves three ministry partners in each instance, it also helps build your team’s donor base, and gives you great visibility in the eyes of the university community. On top of all that, you also get to have the $3,000 cost covered by your speakers, in addition to receiving a matching grant afterwards for your operating account!
There are several things you want to be absolutely certain you have thoroughly in place as you plan. By God’s grace, seeing them go well can make all the difference in whether you have a spectacular event that attendees and participants will want to see happen again, or one that ends up being just ho-hum.
4 DETAILS ALL EXCELLENT EII FORUMS GET RIGHT
First, as you make the offer to prospective speakers to participate in the EII, it’s essential to ask them to give a $1,000 gift to help cover the event cost, as alluded to above. It’s also essential to make the ask in the first conversation you have with them about their prospective participation. Trying to do so later is just more awkward and difficult. We need to see their gift as part of their total involvement, as the purpose is not only to have funds to pay for the EII, but it also gives these partners more ownership and investment in being a part of what God is doing through this event and in your overall scope.
It’s essential to ask during the first conversation you have with them about their prospective participation.
In other words, if it looks like, for example, your forum is only going to cost $2,000, or one speaker is offering to pay for the whole thing, the ask still needs to happen of all three speakers. Then at the beginning of the dinner, as the emcee introduces the speakers, he/she makes mention of how they’re not only giving of their time and expertise, but also of their finances. These speakers and partners already have high credibility in the students’ eyes, and at this point it goes up even more.
Second, we want to reimburse you for your forum expenses and get you the $3,000 matching grant asap after your EII is over. In order for that to happen, the correct chartfield, including the correct project id, which is SPEAKERSFORUM (for every EII expense except thank-you gifts to speakers) must be used when clearing your ministry card. If the wrong chartfield or project id is used, then time would need to be taken to sort out those expenses, delaying you and your team from receiving those funds.
Third, again, this is an outreach, and that’s especially seen in the dinner portion of the event. Here is an excellent opportunity for these campus leaders to hear the gospel clearly articulated, many perhaps for the first time. (Doing so cannot be legitimately seen as a bait-and-switch, as you would’ve made it evident a Christian organization is hosting the event.) All of us working with speakers must be thorough in our coaching of them, including helping the third one to have a full presentation of the gospel. Otherwise, they can easily leave off perhaps the most important part of this entire 24 hours. It must also be pointed out to the audience that they now need to respond somehow to what they just heard, either to believe and trust, to further consider, or to dismiss.
If we don't coach our speakers well, they can easily sidetrack the most important part of our event.
Fourth, on a point somewhat related to the third one, the emcee transitioning well from the last speaker to the comment cards is crucial. You may notice that intentionality is a recurring theme throughout the planning and execution of the EII (but then again, that could be said about many things in life), and this element is no different. There’s a good chance most of the students aren’t going to grab the cards off the table and fill them out correctly without specific instructions from the emcee, even with table hosts there to help. Even more critically, the emcee must specify that the audience members need to put the appropriate mark in the appropriate spot on the card if they chose to receive Christ, in addition of course to legibly filling in their name and contact information. It’s happened before where the emcee missed on this portion, and sadly the comment cards reflected that miss. If we’re going to go to such great lengths to present the gospel and its beauty, we need to give the students the opportunity to respond, and also leave a way to get in touch with them. As a result, follow-up after the event can be one of the best parts of it after the fact.
The Executive and Entrepreneurial Leadership Forum can be a beautiful blessing that results in abundant fruit for your movement if these details are covered. By God’s power and grace, hard work and keeping your eyes on Him will yield the enjoyment of watching what He brings.