The start of another year is steadily approaching. Three hundred and sixty five days are soon to be gone, and like a Ferris wheel at the carnival, it will roll around again in like fashion. The New Year is one of the most exciting times of the year. I love the possibilities that wait for me, my family, and my church in these approaching days.
Like most of you, I have certain expectations, desires, and goals already lined up for 2014, and I want to do all I can to make those aspirations a reality. There was a time in my ministry when I nonchalantly met the New Year without much forethought or consideration, but several years ago I began annual planning, and it has revolutionized my strategy for life.
Each November we (my family and church staff) pray about certain elements of the ministry. We consider where God has taken us, and then contemplate where God wants us to go. When we have some direction about our vision, we then ask the Lord how to facilitate and fund His cause. Part of the process involves our annual planning for the upcoming year. Within the framework of an annual calendar we introduce our new church theme, set meetings and dates, prepare special campaigns, and establish specific ministerial and personal goals. Typically, the first Sunday night of the year we engage our congregation with our plans, pass out literature and calendars, and pray together as a church.
Here are some of the advantages of developing an annual calendar for your church.
1. It Promotes Accountability
If we set dates, goals, or meetings in place far enough in advance, we can work towards those special targets while keeping one another in check. If everyone knows Bible School is scheduled in July when January rolls around, no one is surprised when it gets here.
2. It Propels Vision
Vision is simply seeing God’s will fulfilled in the lives of those around you. Whatever vision God gives you and your church, I assure you, it will be more easily detected when you can see further down the road. Having an annual calendar helps you to see the bigger picture.
3. It Prepares Teamwork
If your people know in advance where you are going, they are more likely to get on board for the ride. Annual planning not only helps everyone see the road ahead, it helps them work together as a team for particular goals.
4. It Prepares for Personal Growth
Structure is the breeding ground for growth. When your time is accounted for, you begin seeing the value of each moment. Having an annual calendar will help you plan more appropriately for exercise, reading, prayer, meditation, and devotion.
5. It Prioritizes Time-Management
For me, having an annual calendar helps me to be more disciplined. It helps me to know my schedule more clearly thus giving way for down-time, family time, and personal time with God. It truly helps me to be a better steward for the time God has given, and I believe it keeps our perspective on God-given goals.
Don’t let another year go by without a detailed plan. Ask the Lord what He wants to accomplish in your life during the upcoming year, and then ask Him to help you put in on the calendar!