This is the final article in my strategy and planning series. We’ve talked about it quite a bit, but at the end of the day, if you follow this process step-by-step, you should be able to come up with months of ideas, events and sermon series. If you’re diligent, you should be able to plan a year in advance. If you missed any of the previous four articles, there are links below.
Now, that we’ve critiqued this past year of ministry, gone through the SWOT Analysis, brainstormed the critical key questions, and connected the dots, it’s time to get practical. At this point, you should have a list of 7-10 common themes from all of the previous exercises. Now it’s time to create events and sermon series around those common themes.
Let me be very careful to NOT give you the impression that the list of common themes are the ONLY things you should address throughout the upcoming year. There will be other areas. For example, you may want to do a message series on your church’s mission and/or values. You may want to do a fundamentals series on why you should join a church, your identity in Christ, etc. However, when you take a 30,000 foot look down upon your church, you should see that list of themes recurring over and over.
Here’s the list that we came up with for my church…
- Marriage and parenting
- Money management (stewardship, tithing, etc)
- Fear (of the unknown, of my past, etc.)
- Spiritual health
- Identity (Do I find my identity in this world or in Christ?)
- Contentment and joy
Just looking at that list, I can tell you that those recurring themes will emerge in every message series throughout 2016. For example, we’re kicking off in January with a stewardship series. February is relationships. Coming out of Easter, we’ll address those core fears that everyone wrestles with. In the fall, we’re doing a series on spiritual disciplines. In November, leading up to Thanksgiving, we’re doing a series on Philippians on contentment and joy.
At the tail end of the stewardship series, we’re having a free Financial 101 seminar following our Sunday services. In May, we’re having a parenting seminar. All throughout the year, we’re getting very intentional with outreach participating in community events already happening like local 5K races, festivals, etc.
Mixed in here, you also need to plan for volunteer appreciation. We have a small local aquatic center. It has a couple pools and a lazy river. It only costs a couple hundred dollars to rent it out for two hours on a Sunday night during the summer. This past summer was our first Volunteer Appreciation Aquatic Night, a free event for volunteers and their families. (See what we did there? We created an event that appreciated volunteers while also creating an environment for their families!) The best part… It required next to no prep from our staff to pull off. If you have something local like that in your community, look into it.
Listen, it really doesn’t take that much to plan months ahead of time. You just have to do it! You just have to take a couple of days, get away, and do the hard work of planning. The question now is… will you!
PS. I’m checking out for the holidays. I’ll be back the first of the year with an exciting announcement about a brand new coaching network that I’m kicking off in January. If you already know that you might be interested in getting your church healthy in 2016, hit the reply button now and let me know. I’ll zip you back an email with the details. I pray you have a very blessed Christmas!
PSS. Here’s the links to the previous articles on Strategy & Planning…