In part one of this series I wrote on the importance of church leadership truly having a grasp on the Why, What, and How of the church; that is the Mission, Vision, and Strategies of the church. Here I want to continue in this vein and articulate a simple outline for annual planning.

1. Set the Major Initiatives

After getting the mission, vision, and strategies crisply in the hearts and minds of the leadership team, plans can be made for the coming year. First, the lead pastor and/or the lead team of the church must set the tenor and major initiatives for the coming year. This can happen in various forums, but it must not happen without serious prayer and contemplation. The forums can include several “brain trust” meetings, a retreat, etc. Don’t be afraid to challenge the norms and take risks in planning. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

2. Set Individual Ministry Initiatives

Second, the various team leaders take their cue and develop the initiatives and goals that they want to achieve in their respective areas of ministry. They should do this within the context of their teams.

Major initiatives for the coming year…must not happen without serious prayer and contemplation. Click To Tweet

3. Set the Calendar

The church calendar is the next proposal to consider. There are plenty of platforms on which the church can manage its gatherings, events, etc. The main items should get placed on the calendar first and then individual ministry items (e.g. all staff meetings should precede youth staff meetings). Once the calendar is populated someone should be tasked with viewing it as a whole and its details, looking for what is missing as well as for conflicts. For instance, it may be a conflict for the church to plan its Annual Members Meeting over a holiday weekend or for the church to launch a capital campaign right before or right after its annual missions emphasis. After the calendar has been reviewed and refined it is ready for publishing. Now, unless Jesus comes back, you know what you are supposed to do.[1]

4. Set the Budget

Part of the calendaring process is considering the cost of the proposed plans. Each calendar item should be thought through and be reflected in the Financial Plan (a.k.a. The Budget). Laying out the Financial Plan is part 3 of this series. For now, keep in mind that it is imprudent to put something on the calendar and not plan to pay for it (Luke 14:28).

[1] If He comes back, scrap your plans. You won’t need them any longer.