I hear preachers complain about it all the time, and I admit I have done it too. They complain during the Christmas season or during the Easter season about how busy they are at the time. Honestly, the minister who usually feels the burden of the winter and spring are the ones who enjoy summer too much. For some of us who lead Churches, summer is a down time, and we travel to conferences, take vacations and generally slack off.
Several years ago, I made a grand discovery that if I work hard in the summer, I will be far better prepared for the future. I can put plans and ideas together now for the work I will be doing several months out. So here are some of the projects I am working on this summer.
1. Membership. A little over a month ago I taught our membership class again. Now I am doing the follow-up with everyone. There are several reasons this is important. First is because our membership books are a mess. Through the years numerous people have been added with very few removed. We also had a Church split in our history and then a Church reunification that made a mess of our records. I am building a new list of members who are actively part of the Church. This list is then going to be divided up to help with the care ministry of the Church. We are forming what was once known as shepherding groups with the people who have taken the class. Finally, we are enlisting and directing new people where they can serve the Lord at our Church. We want to see everyone who calls this Church home serving in some capacity. The care of our members and volunteers we need are being secured now for the future.
2. Ministry Systems. Just like the human body is made up of different systems (think cardiovascular and muscular for example), so the Church is made up of different systems. There is a worship system, guest follow-up, ministry, leadership and so on. I am trying to organize these for the best possible outcome. I just bought a book that will help me work through this for our Church.
3. Sermon Planning. Every summer I try to plan for the next 12-14 months. I try to think through big days like Christmas and Easter. I like to come up with sermon series with titles for each sermon and hopefully a topic and text. I never want to be a slave to the immediate by waiting to put my sermons together. This keeps me preaching a variety of topics and using the whole Bible each year.
4. Complete Calendar. As the sermons are being put together I need to think through every aspect of every month. That might include a Sunday for the children’s Christmas program along with small groups and other activities. I try to think through the annual calendar while looking at the school schedule. Right now, this discussion involves the moving to two worship programs by this fall. We were running over 80% full in our auditorium this spring and now we need a plan for more seats in the fall. This takes a lot of thought, discussion and prayer.
These are some of the big things I am working on right now. I have several other small projects ranging from books I want to read to my Easter sermon for next year. Each of these jobs will help to make the Church better in the future and relieve me of stress in the future. Please say a prayer for our Church and its future plans and may God be glorified by everything we do.