The New Year is here and this provides a crucial opportunity to get your staff preparing, thinking, and planning! If you lead a staff, one of the most valuable things you can do is to have each person on your team create an annual plan. An annual plan is foundational for everything else that your staff team will do over the next year. In fact, drop everything else that you are doing with your staff team and do this. This planning process is designed for those who lead a major ministry area such as children’s, groups, worship ministries, youth ministries, connect, etc.
Whether you have 1, 5, or 50 staff members, being proactive in leading your staff is essential. But what does this plan look like and how can you get started? On a church staff team, have each person walk through the following six steps to writing an annual plan for his/her area of leadership. We recommend having each person take one whole day away to walk thoughtfully through this process.
1. DEFINE The Ministry
Remember, this is for a specific church ministry within the context of the overall local church. In Defining the Ministry you are answering questions like:
- Why does this ministry even exist?
- How does this ministry fit into the overall vision for the church?
- What is the biblical basis for this ministry?
- What is the Scripture calling us to in this ministry?
- What are we attempting to accomplish in this ministry?
We recommend that this section be somewhere between 1/2 page to 1 page long. Don’t feel like you have to answer each question listed here, but these are the kinds of questions that you are unpacking in this step. (This is not the place for a seven-page ministry philosophy but a summary of that larger philosophy.)
2. DESCRIBE the Present
This is the place to take inventory of where the ministry is right now. What does the ministry look like now? What does it consist of? List numbers, programs, leaders, etc. Be thorough and detailed in your description. Don’t rush through this step but make sure that you have a complete understanding of where the ministry is today.
3. DIAGNOSE Current Problems
Now it’s time to think through what is not working.
- What are the current problems in this ministry?
- What is holding the ministry back?
- What is frustrating?
- What are we missing/lacking in the ministry?
- What obstacles are we facing?
Remember, You don’t have to list and answer each of these questions, but these are the kinds of things that you are thinking through in this step. Be thorough and list all of the obstacles that come to mind. Do not attempt to solve the problems in this step, simply articulate them.
4. DESIGN a Plan
This is the place to write your plan for 2016. In designing a plan, make sure that you address the following two issues:
- What are we going to do in 2021 to address the problems addressed above?
- What are the major 4-6 things we want to accomplish in this ministry in 2021?
Other questions could include:
- What are we going to do to move the ministry forward in 2021?
- What specific things are we going to start, stop, or do to move forward?
- What are we going to do to move beyond the present?
- What will we accomplish this year to move the ministry forward?
Make specific and measurable goals in this section. Don’t list and answer all of the above questions. Rather, write what you are going to do in the coming year. Make sure to keep your goals specific and measurable.
5. DETAIL the Progress
This step is not an afterthought but is critical to the whole process. How will we implement our plan over the coming year? In detailing the progress, Your headings in this section should be months: (January, February, March…) Underneath each month, list what you will accomplish in that month from step 4 above.
6. Plan your DEVELOPMENT
What is your plan for personal growth this year? What are you going to read, study, or do to grow? What are you going to do to grow professionally? How are you going to become a more effective leader in the coming year?