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My Process For Annual Planning

I’ve got to be real with you!  Among my favorite things in life, I would include sitting in front of the television with a bucket of popcorn in my lap while watching a shootout between the bad guys and the good guys.  I love to chill, relax, and think about nothing!  So, left completely to myself, I would never get anything done unless I planned to get it done.  Therefore, I plan. Over the years, I have developed a 4-step planning process that has helped me tremendously in planning for the coming year and staying on schedule throughout the year.

So I thought, over the next few blog posts, I would share with you my process for annual planning.  (My 4 steps: Personal Planning in August, Staff Planning in September, Men’s Leadership Planning in November, Vision Sunday on 1st Sunday of January)

Personal Planning Time

At the end of August every year, I spend 2 days in Prayer, Bible Study, and Calendar Planning.  I have several things I must accomplish before walking away from those days.

#1 – My Goals

First and foremost, I begin to write out my personal goals for the coming year.  I ask myself what I would like to see in the mirror come December of the following year, then I begin to pray and ask the Lord what He would like to accomplish through me by December of the following year.  I always begin with my Spiritual Goals  that include devotional goals like how much of the Bible I’d like to read that year and how much time I’d like to spend in prayer every day.  I then move on to Relational Goals.  In relation to my family, I plan family days and vacation time; in relation to Heather and the children, I ask myself how I’d like our relationships to mature and what steps I can take to make that happen; and in relation myself, I think of my physical appearance and health.  This is where I have my weight goals and workout regimen planned.  Next I write out my Professional Goals.  For example, this year I’d like to follow my daily schedule, develop powerful sermons, read 25 books, etc.  After this, I focus on my Financial Goals.  Specifically, I think of what I’d like to give away, how much I’d like to have in my personal savings, what debts I need to pay off, what major purchases I need to make, and what investments I would like to continue.  Lastly, I look at my Ministerial Goals. This is where I write out the 10 goals for our church for the coming year.

#2 – Church Goals

My Father, many years ago, taught me that every year you should be presenting to the church a list of goals that would move the church forward and advance the Kingdom of Christ.  I can remember my father agonizing over these “10 Goals” every year.  I was taught that a great amount of prayer must go into this process and that these goals must be from the Good Shepherd and not merely the will of His under shepherd.  Here is a list of our 2012 goals at Southern Hills:

1.     Auditorium Expansion

2.     Start Southern Hills Small Groups

3.     Start Southern Hills University Classes

4.     Lease out neighboring facility

5.     Improve Nursery Facilities

6.      Hire New Pastoral Staff

7.     New Church Van

8.    Train 4 Summer Interns

9.      Reach every home in Southwest Las Vegas with the Gospel

10.      Expand church planting efforts India

I am thrilled to say that our church has accomplished all but #7 by October 1st.  We have never once had a year that we met all 10 goals.  Many times, we only hit 7 out of 10, but this does not keep us from aiming high every single year.

#3 – Prepare for Staff Planning 

Knowing full well that Heather and I would be meeting with our staff for a 2-day planning retreat in only 4-5 weeks motivated me to prepare my sermon schedule for the coming year, staff schedules for the coming quarter, and spend a great amount of time in prayer and reading.  These disciplines help me appear more organized than I really am and set me up as a leader my staff will be able to follow. No matter what your vocation or calling, I believe that planning ahead is extremely important.  Obviously, the Holy Spirit may chose to course-correct an action or two throughout the year, but this should not keep us from diligently preparing for the months to come.  My prayer is that you will begin planning the upcoming year now, whether you are a mother, employer, minister, or any other type of servant of God.

Next Blog, I will take you into our Staff Planning Retreat to allow you to see my 2nd step in Annual Planning.

 Do you think these steps are necessary?  Do you feel that over planning may inhibit the work and moving of the Holy Spirit?  Do you have ideas that have helped you in planning for the future?

Please comment below.

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  • Reply
    August 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Yes I make goals and plans every year, help me maintain focus for the year. Goals for fellowship, church attendance, goals for my sons future, such as learning etc. improving my marriage and financial goals. Without planning and goals I think life would just spiral. I look at my family like a businessman would look at his company. Sometimes the holy spirit will guide in a different direction but it’s for a good reason, maybe I wasn’t ready to meet that goal or criteria. Very important to make small goals to help accomplish the big ones.

  • Reply
    August 14, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    An old saying is if it is working don’t change it. If it is not working then fix it. Pastor when the Lord is opening doors for us we see the blessings of his work through and upon his children in his church. Yes we should make plans if it is inspired by the Lord in our lives. But if the plan did not work out like we thought sometimes we must look to see if we went through the right door. If so then have patience up on the Lord. I of all people should keep this in mind, it is one thing to be thrown into the lions den, but to jump into it with out the Lord could be a very bad experience. But when the Lord is leading the way have no fear. My biggest mistake in my life is I often jump with out asking God. Then pray for a rescue for me like now. are I ask and do not wait for a answer. There is no question when we wait upon the Lord and He opens the door like He has at Southern Hills Baptist Church. You see his blessings at work.

  • Reply
    August 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    At any age or season of life, this, Pastor, is a great reminder to be a steward not only of tithe but of time and treasures. Well done.

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