2021 is right around the corner! For most of us, the turn of the New Year cannot come quickly enough. All our plans for 2020 were crushed by the pandemic and we are looking forward to a fresh year, a fresh slate, and a fresh opportunity to do something meaningful and significant in the lives of our family and our church.
As church leaders, this is the time to be finalizing our 2021 Goals. Before we know it, Christmas will be upon us and there will be no time to be thinking about what we’re going to do in January. So now is the time when we must think ahead and crystallize all the things that we’ve been planning since the ministry year began back in September.
What are the keys to success when finalizing those 2021 Goals?
Get events on the calendar. You likely have brainstormed all the things you want to do after the first of the year. Make sure that you get everything on the calendar now. Work out all the potential date conflicts between different ministry departments. Schedule the promotion for each event well in advance. Make sure there is a staff member to own every event. Don’t be afraid to cut out anything that seemed like a good idea at the time but really doesn’t fit with your annual mission and vision. Get everything ready so you can leap into action after the holidays.
Put personnel in place. Don’t wait until after the holidays to start recruiting your volunteers. Put the feelers out now for the people you’ll need to run your programs. People may be too overwhelmed to volunteer during the holidays, but they’ll have a fresh and renewed sense of time and energy when January rolls around. Capitalize on those positive feelings and lock in their commitments now. Stay in touch with them and cast vision over the next two months so that they’re ready to go when programming starts in 2021.
Secure financial resources. You’ve planned your 2020-2021 ministry budget, but are the funds actually there? What kind of fundraising or appeals do you as church leaders need to do to make sure you have the funding in place to run your late winter and spring programming when it’s time? People love to give to the church around Christmas. Don’t be afraid to make financial appeals at that time. Connect with your biggest, most faithful givers and lock in their gifts by December 31. Then challenge people at the beginning of the year to continue their giving as they begin their own annual budgets. Start the financial year off on a good note.
Produce your media briefs. Be proactive in planning for any media that you’ll need. Your media and print production team will be exhausted after the Christmas holidays and the season’s heavy reliance on audio and visual production material. Start planning with them for the New Year now while they still have some fresh thoughts. They can produce videos and print materials later, but brainstorming thoughtful and organized briefs now will help get their creative juices flowing. This will also give them the lead time they need to utilize their skills and gifts most effectively for you later.
Finalize first quarter sermon series. All church leaders, especially pastors, will be mentally and emotionally depleted after the Christmas holidays. In fact, it is common for pastors to take a couple of weeks vacation right after Christmas. Rather than having to focus on sermon prep during those weeks of vacation, plan the January and February sermon series now, before Christmas, so there will be some mental space available for rest and recuperation later. Involve the whole ministry team to plan the worship services and choose a general direction so you have a jumping off point from which to start in January.
Plan a date for springtime planning now. Since you’re planning ahead, why not continue doing so by choosing the date on which you’ll start your spring/second quarter planning. Maybe it’s sometime in late January or early February. Thinking ahead and constantly considering “What’s Next” will give you the time and mental energy you need to prepare properly for the people in your church as you seek to follow the Spirit’s leading in building God’s Kingdom every week in your church.
Don’t wait! Finish up that planning today! A little forethought will save a lot of headache and mental exhaustion later.