As the end of 2016 approaches this week, thinking of this last year in our ministry seems to be on the front of my mind. I can’t help it. I can look back and thank God for all He has done this year in my life, family and ministry. The end of the year is always a good time to reflect back look at your ministry and begin to work on 2017 to celebrate the good things, point out the things that could get better and begin to come up with a plan in 2017.

Not only would I do this by myself on my own time, but I would also get some people who you trust and really love the ministry enough to be honest and go through this exercise with them. You will be surprised what comes up.

This process is something our church does often. We do this for events, the year in ministry and even in our personal review process. When you begin to make the lists with whom you want in this meeting, it will only make you better. It’s really easy, it is just 4 categories:

RIGHT – Make a list and write down all of the things that were RIGHT this year. What were the things you would not change and you would like to keep doing and keep building on? Could be a program, an event or a person. What went right in your ministry this year and work on making it happen.

Some things that went right for us this year:

  • One Nights (our invite nights)
  • You Own The Night (student lead service)
  • Business card style fliers
  • Volunteer team additions

WRONG – This list is a painful one but a needed one. In this list, take some time reflecting on the things in which flopped. What was wrong? What won’t you do again and why? What is happening right now that needs to stop?

Some things that went wrong:

  • Small group excitement. It was better but is still not right.
  • Winter Retreat. We had to cancel last-minute after promoting. It was the right call but it’s never an easy one.

MISSING – This list should be things that you would have liked to see in your ministry this year but didn’t. What were the events, vibes, atmosphere, types of leaders you know that if you had it would have been better. What types of things were missing, create the list, and work on filling those things in 2017.

Things we were missing this year:

  • A good small group plan. We have one but need to revamp.
  • Leaders. What ministry has ever said, “No, we have enough volunteers”?

CONFUSED – This list would be full of the things that are confusing in your ministry. What are the areas in your area in which you do but may not know why, there is an area in which there is no intentionality, etc. Is your next step process not clear? Your leader on-boarding process? What? Take some time and really think about the areas in your ministry that are not as clear as they should be.

Some things that are confusing for us:

  • Our small group plan and integration. We are working on it and have a plan for next year…. ideally.
  • Multi-site strategy.

If I were you, I would try to go through this by yourself and then gather a few people to go through this with you by the end of January. It is a great challenge and eye-opening, healthy experience for your whole ministry.