Hi there! I hope that you are all well,
Several postings ago I went through 10 possible reasons why members may leave your synagogue. The 4th reason we cited is that members may be turned off by an event or program. Members teetering on the brink can easily be pushed away with a tasteless synagogue event. This is the double edged sword of programs. On one hand they can bring you crowds, excite your congregation, shake things up in a positive way but on the other hand, due to their unpredictability, they can send loyal parishioners running for the doors. My simple suggestion is see to it that your programming committee has aligned their program with the shul’s overall mission/vision/concept. Additionally, a sound time line should be written up. Planning in advance helps minimize snafus in the system. Don’t leave your programming to chance. I remember once running a mini-kumzits before Selichos at my synagogue. Our Chazan, Zev Muller, is a world class canter and brings in a sizeable audience for Selichos. In anticipation of his prayers, I ran a kumzits with a guitarist. The guitarist seemed to be doing just fine. I decided to step out and take a break. 400 attendees were sitting in shul getting ready for this solemn evening. Several minutes later I walk back in and notice silence and shock on my congregant’s faces. The guitarist went off script and decided to do his rendition of Puff the Magic Dragon. Oy!