December 10, 2009

Contents of a New Year Planner

Written By Cary Schmidt

‘Tis the season for new year planning! In support of the recent Spiritual Leadership Podcast on annual planning, I thought it would be appropriate to dissect a ministry planner and give an inside glimpse of what’s included. Perhaps these thoughts will equip you in planning and preparing for a great new year of ministry. So, here goes—the contents of my ministry planner:

1. Last Year in Review—this part is a simple summary of the high points and great moments of the last year of ministry. This always provokes deep gratitude for what God has done, and challenges in areas that need improvement for the next year.

2. Personal Life Section—this section covers family and personal items like walking with the Lord, reading, studying, preparing for writing and teaching/preaching, family nights, vacation, date nights, and get-aways with my wife.

3. Twelve-Month Calendar—one page per month, but each month has been worked on carefully. All of the church events are in place. Each trip, activity, and critical season is mapped out. This ministry and personal calendar drives much of the rest of the planner. Of course much of it changes over the year, but it’s good to start with a twelve-month overview.

4. Months-at-a-Glance Project Lists—this is a one page per month list of the major projects of each particular month. It’s really a summary of the whole planner, by month. Each area of ministry is listed with the primary projects for that month. It’s a help to read this list every few days to make sure things are on track for the month.

5. A Section for Each Area of Ministry—in addition to a personal section, the planner includes a tab for every major area of ministry. For instance, mine includes youth, publications, etc. Each section contains the following: Vision, goals, projects, details. That’s a critical sequence—vision, goals, projects, details—because they flow one to the next.

6. Vision, Goals, Projects, and Details for Each Ministry—start with vision (given by God through time with Him). Then develop goals that realize the vision—make them measurable. Then create projects or events that fulfill the goals. Finally, put details like dates and steps to the projects. For example—a vision for youth ministry might include the transfer of biblical truth. A goal for that vision might be to lead a weekly Bible study time. A project to realize that goal might be to begin a teen Bible study or to teach the Ten Commandments. The detailswould include the step by step of when and how you will prepare those lessons or launch that new effort.

7. Particular Planning Tools for Each Ministry—for music ministry, this includes twelve months of music schedules. For youth ministry this includes a curriculum plan for what each class is teaching and when. For a radio ministry this would include the broadcast schedule. Each ministry has its own unique planning needs.

8. Flow Charts—each area of ministry usually has a team (even if they are volunteer). This chart shows who does what and how the work and ministry flows.

9. Ministry Budget—each area of ministry or each major event needs a budget—planning out the income and expenditures.

If these thoughts have prompted you to create a ministry planner, I would be happy to send you a sample section from a recent student ministry planner. Just shoot me an email. You might also reference two other articles previously posted about planning for the new year—Thoughts on Planning the New Year and also Making the Busiest Time of Year the Best.

What have you found helpful in planning for the new year?