18 January 2017

First Things First: Planning For Ministry & Life in 2017

I love getting my brand-new calendar. I love how clean it is and ready to be filled with lots of plans, ideas, events and memories :) But I also know how quickly it can fill up, especially at the start of the year. Which is why I was excited to find someone who truly understood the busyness of ministry and family life:

"Ministry can be incredibly unpredictable. There is no way to schedule funerals six months in advance or to know when a family in your church (or your own family, for that matter) will go through a major life crisis.  But taking time at the beginning of the year to schedule time for your key responsibilities will get you much closer than just hoping the time will create itself."
- PaulChappell.com

Their article on starting the year right was so inspiring, I wanted to share their ideas (and my own thoughts) here. While they are written for clergy workers, they truly benefit their families as well. I hope these 7 ideas give you a starting point to create a calendar that helps you meet your own priorities. Read thejr full article here.
  1. Marriage Retreat ("Healthy marriages take time." Put time aside to plan your year together, including reconnecting after Christmas and setting regular time together in your calendar as a priority.)
  2. Family Days & Vacation ("If you schedule family days and your time for vacation ahead, your family will not only get to enjoy the time together, but will also enjoy the anticipation of planning for these times." Many PKs I know treasure these times and remember them for many years to come as special time together as a family.)
  3. Sermon Planning & Study ("It helps me tremendously to set aside a few days a few times a year to plan out the themes and texts for upcoming series. I’ll typically finish this time with a list of sermon titles and texts for the next few months.")
  4. Personal Retreat Days (Plan ahead for time alone to catch your breath, refuel and spend some time with God, whether you're a clergy worker, spouse, or even a PK who helps in ministry! )
  5. Staff Training (Prepare for the year of ministry together as a team. As the author says he "look(s) forward to having these hours off site with our entire staff to tweak alignment and prepare for the coming year of ministry." Note: This could also mean you can plan ahead to make sure you all have your scheduled holidays and days off.)
  6. Long-Term Planning ("If you don’t periodically pull yourself out of the current and focus toward the future, you’ll simply tread water." While this speaks about ministry planning, I would say it applies to family life too. Ministry families have told me that setting time aside to plan ahead and keep your priorities firmly in focus helps you balance your year - as well as your ministry!)
  7. Reading ("Keep a list of books you want to read or topics you want to study, and have it ready for when you do have a personal retreat day." Build these into your routine. I would also add make sure you have a fun, non-ministry book too, just for unwinding and giving your mind a rest from ministry)
How do you start each year?

We hope you have a wonderful and blessed start to the new year and enjoy the many plans God has in store for you :)
~ Rachel & Matt

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