A Strategic Calendar and Ministry Health

Last month I released a blog about planning an annual preaching calendar. Hopefully you have a desk calendar on the wall decorated with colorful sticky notes. If that makes no sense to you, read Building a Strategic Preaching Calendar first and then come back to this blog. 

Building a strategic calendar is a critical piece of strategy and enhances team planning. When a team keeps a visual of the entire year in front of them, upcoming events get talked about and deadlines get met.

A strategic calendar does more than ensure good planning, but can also keep ministry healthy. Too often churches focus on the ministry of the church and overlook ministry health. When ministry starts bearing the fruit of unhealthiness on Sunday, it means it has been sick for a long time. 

Here are five important pieces to add to your strategic calendar that will help keep ministry healthy. 

Vision Communication Nights

It is easy to run through the year with the assumption that everyone is clear on vision. While the staff may have clarity, it is possible (and likely) that others do not. I usually recommend that pastors schedule at least four vision evenings per year and invite everyone who serves in any capacity to attend. When you invest an evening with the people who are vested (serving) in your church, it brings unity and momentum to the weekend.

Volunteer Appreciation 

There are different thoughts on how often churches should schedule volunteer appreciation gatherings, but my suggestion is to schedule one per year. This is not the time to talk about the upcoming needs or manpower that’s needed. This is a time to celebrate the people who make Sunday happen. Allow your department leaders to share a “God-story” around the efforts of their team. Be sure to talk more about “WHY” we serve, instead of “WHAT” we do. Have fun, make it high energy and make sure every single volunteer leaves feeling like they are part of ONE team.

Planning Retreats

I encourage pastors to schedule two planning retreats per year; one in the spring and one in the fall. This is a great opportunity for team building, sharing and building a strategic calendar. If possible, it’s best to have the retreat off-site in a fun place, where creative juices can flow during the day and the team can relax and have fun in the evenings. 

Assigned Reading

It takes more than meetings to keep ministry and staff healthy; there has to be intentionality in development and growth. Choose four or five leadership books. Write each title on a sticky note, and place each note on your calendar. Be strategic, meaning, don’t assign a book two weeks before Easter. After reading the material, gather the team and discuss the take aways and applications. This is a great way to promote self-growth and develop leadership. 

Performance Evaluations

I recommend two performance evaluations per year (usually one at six months and one at the end of the year). There are several good evaluation tools floating around out there, but some of my favorites are the ones where each team member evaluates themselves. I always make sure two questions are asked at each evaluation: 1) What is your current greatest struggle? and 2) How can I help you succeed? 

What else do you think is important enough to put on the calendar that would promote ministry health? 


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