Great Churches Part 4

download-3Do you want to focus vision, spark creativity, build momentum, increase service quality, avoid scheduling conflicts, all while experiencing a sense of team building?

Don’t underestimate the power of Annual Planning to take your administrative game to another level and elevate your entire culture in ways you didn’t anticipate.

What is Annual Planning? It is the gathering of important initiatives and events and communicating them to the right people as far in advance as possible.

Why Annual Planning? Because what you prioritize defines what you value. And, what you value defines your vision. And, your vision defines your culture.

Learn more about values starting at Values Part 1 and access all 5 Posts!

On a more pragmatic level, those priorities don’t have to keep “sneaking up” on you and your team, often in conflict with other events. It turns out that Groundhog Day, Easter, graduations, vacations, the Fourth of July, and Christmas come around every year. Who knew? More importantly…

What about what’s important to the community you are trying to reach? When will they be gathering and why? How can you have a purposed presence? Find out and include it in your planning!

How do you lead in Annual Planning? Consider these simple steps…

Step 1: Set the “Due Date” for all teams to submit their important initiatives and/or events for approval and (possible) inclusion. Don’t forget to include this date in your next Annual Planning Calendar! Give them at least 1 month notice. In addition to each ministry team, task your best planners (possibly your church office staff or Administrator/Executive Pastor) with researching national, regional, and local events that will impact your ministry planning.

NOTE: Annual Planning is best done in the early Fall of the year. This means that you begin with Step 1 in the Summer! HOWEVER, IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO PLAN EARLY! Get it done in the New Year ASAP!

Step 2: Set the date for your Lead Team Annual Planning Retreat. Here are some recommendations for your weekend retreat or morning meeting, depending on your context…

  • Review all submissions in advance so you can maximize your time together.
  • REMEMBER… EVERY “YES” IS A “NO” AND EVERY “NO” IS A “YES” when it comes to prioritizing. It isn’t about the initiatives and events that do and don’t make the cut.

It is about the combined efforts and energy of the volunteers and staff behind it all!

  • Don’t rush into the nuts and bolts of creating your calendar. Pray together for wisdom in exercising the gift of administration before diving in.
  • Utilize a shared platform such as Google Calendar. Just google Google Calendar to find out more!

Step 3: Communicate your Annual Planning Calendar! Somewhere in a storage box is a stapled 12 page calendar from our church in the early ’90’s. We promoted it well in advance and had a display table waiting for all to get their brand new calendar hot off the press! Today, it may look more like a web-site and/or app calendar.

Here are a few tips as you communicate what’s coming…

  • Make it a “we” thing from the beginning by letting your church family know to be praying for your entire planning process and retreat.
  • Be strategic about what you communicate to the whole church, to team leaders and staff. Not everyone needs (or wants) to know everything. However, everyone needs to know something important to their investment in your unique vision and to plan accordingly.
  • Generate some excitement by promoting the date when all the new dates will be made available for all to access and then pray, plan and promote together. Use all your media outlets to do this!
  • Give it some platform time. Everyone knows that if it get’s talked about from the platform, it must be important. Talk it up!

Annual Planning won’t make up for a lack of vision, values or good old fashioned hard work.

It also won’t inhibit the freedom to move, change and grow as the Spirit leads you and your lead team! Actually, it will free you up to do so like never before!

However, it can better inform you about them about what God has already revealed and help you to work smarter and not just harder. Great leaders and churches get this and get it done.

Need someone to help guide you through the process? Email us at and let’s talk about a partnership. We’ll put it on our calendar!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s