I love to cook.
I hate deciding what to cook.
These two things in one person is a bit of a conundrum, and can create some serious anxiety within myself as I stand in the kitchen, looking at possible ingredients, running down to the freezer or pantry under the stairs to see what’s there, only to make a decision, choose a direction, and then realize that can’t happen without going to the store. It annoys the daylights out of me.
So I meal plan.
Yes, I have a calendar plan for what we are going to eat for dinner. Because while I adore the creativity of cooking, I know that I’ll never get to the creative part if I’m standing there being indecisive after a long day in the office of making decisions. And when we grocery shop, it includes everything needed to make any of those meals for the next few weeks. So each night, I can go to the fridge, look at the calendar, and then pull out the appropriate ingredients.
And what, exactly, does this have to do with ministry?
I have to do the exact same thing with ministry and services. I love having opportunities in services to do baby dedications, honor veterans, celebrate Pentecost, and share about what God is doing around the world. But if I don’t PLAN for the time to be creative and have those wonderful moments, if I don’t put it on the calendar, it’s going to end up causing that last-minute-stand-in-front-of-the-fridge stress during a staff meeting or worse, on a Sunday morning.
So here’s a few practicals since it’s November, a perfect time to work on your annual calendar for next year:
- Mark all holidays that you would like to acknowledge in a service with a special video or gift, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc.
- Go through the previous year’s calendar to find the events that you want to repeat, like a family Sundays on the 5th Sundays, a particular outreach, Kids Camp send-off or Youth Camp report-back, etc.
- Make room for guests by charting out Sundays where you plan to seek out a missionary to visit (seriously – shock a missionary by calling THEM instead of them leaving you all the voicemails!), breaks between series that would be perfect for a team member or a district guest, and Sundays where you will be gone due to vacation or ministry, and will need to schedule pulpit supply.
What am I missing on this list? What other things are helpful to look at and plan ahead for on your yearly calendar?