I’m not sure who initially stated this truism, “Plan with the end in mind,” and I’m not always good at following that advice. However, as we begin 2019 (it’s still January, so I’m assuming we’re at the start of 2019 although most of us already feel behind), we would be wise to imagine what the year will look like in retrospect.
Let’s pretend we’re in our last staff meeting of the year and are evaluating our respective ministry areas. Here are some questions we might want to answer:
- What was our biggest ministry accomplishment? To answer this question, we’ll need to know what “ministry accomplishment” looks like. In other words, do we measure accomplishment by weekly attendance, how many big events we hosted, accolades from parents, number of resulting baptisms? In order to know if we accomplished anything, we need to set goals before we begin.
- What actions did we take each quarter to reach families with the gospel? Again, without advance planning, we often are not very intentional with the primary purpose of our ministry’s existence.
- How many new volunteers did we recruit? Often, we are in survival mode week-to-week and don’t have a strategy of enlisting and developing new kids ministry leaders. Instead, we wait until there’s a vacancy and then scramble to get a warm body in a room of preschoolers or elementary children.
- How many new and experienced leaders did we train? Training events give us the opportunity to show appreciation to our volunteers, as well as provide inspiration and education. We should all be learning continuously. However, like with almost everything else, if we don’t plan training opportunities they most likely won’t happen.
- What is one thing we stopped doing this year? Most of us are not good at killing programs or events. However, what worked well for us in the past is not necessarily what we need to keep doing in perpetuity.
- What is one new thing we did this year? I’ve heard that before we hang new clothes in our closet, we should donate an equal number of garments already taking up space in our wardrobe. We need to be doing new things in our ministry in order to keep reaching families. Nevertheless, unless we stop doing some things we have little room in our volunteer “closet” for anything new.
I’m excited about what God wants to do in and through us this year. And, I know that we cannot plan for everything that God has in store for our ministries. However, I do believe that we honor God when we take time now to set goals, make plans, and set in motion ways to implement those plans. After all God’s Word tells us, “Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23)
Landry Holmes is the Manager of LifeWay Kids Ministry Publishing, Nashville, TN. A graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Landry served on church staffs before coming to LifeWay. He is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. Landry also teaches children at his church in Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Janetta are the grandparents of three adorable grandbabies.