One of my favorite things to do is take a big step back from our ministry and begin to think about the future. What series do we do? What events can we plan? How can we reach the most amounts of students in the name of Jesus but have it be effective with the people, time, and budget we have.

I don’t like to plan so far in advance because what our team is passionate about right now might not be the same in 10 months when it comes to pull off that series, event or whatever we planned. Yes, that overnighter we planned almost a year ago seemed awesome in the moment, but when you come about it you realize another event would fit better but you already made the slides, fliers, promoted it, got it approved and so you are forced to do an event you are no longer passionate about. Is this how it works in every church? I don’t know, I never planned a year out and this is how I feel it would go down.

We plan in quarters. We are about to get together with all of our team (jr. high through college, you can do the same with volunteers) and we will plan out from April until June. Then sometime in May we will get together and plan out the summer time. Maybe it’s just how I like to work, but when something is close and we know we will be doing it soon, we won’t lose our passion towards it. To pull off anything with excellence, you need to have the passion to pull it off. No event is phenomenal with someone who is half-hearted towards it.

Planning in quarters allows us to be flexible. It allows us to switch gears rather quickly because we can see, in the moment, what our students are going through, struggling with, what in culture in happening and it allows us to plan accordingly. I feel when you plan too far out, we tend to (not always) keep the course and because we said we were going to do this or that.

It involves our entire team. We plan all series, events, and volunteer stuff as a team. Everyone comes to the plate with series they have prayed through and pitches the ideas to the team. It could be for their area of ministry or it could be for another ministry. This gets everyone thinking about the ministry as a whole, not just their area. It brings unity. Our jr high pastor had a great idea he thought would be fun for college ministry and it was killer. So we are doing it. Healthy teams think about the ministry as a whole, not just their own area.

Fun is huge. Fun and productivity go together. I know I said we had a favorite part, but this is another favorite part. We take a whole day away, we plan and we have fun. A typical day looks like this:

  • Meet for coffee, wake up, catch up.
  • Plan for college ministry.
  • Head to lunch. Hang out. Have fun.
  • Head to another coffee shop, plan for students.
  • We go see a movie, go to the beach, a pool, whatever. Go have fun.
  • When we are done with that, we go home. Day well spent.

I don’t know if this is helpful but we have seen some amazing things come from our few times a year we get together to plan out a few months in advance. Some of the best ideas came from sitting around lunch, laughing and having fun. Our team is closer, our ministry is on top of everything our students need to hear and we have the flexibility to shift in a moment, and I love it.

Hope this gives you a little insight into the why and what we do to plan for the future of our ministry. How do you do it in yours?


Justin Knowles