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I don’t know about you, but this is the first year since the pandemic that it feels like church life is finally back to normal.
Church buildings are once again full, and church events are well attended. It is a good feeling.
The world, however, has become increasingly dark. We are experiencing a time like no other and witnessing the eruption of wars and rumors of wars.
These events should fuel church leaders to do the work of the ministry and focus on its mission.
The world needs the body of Christ to stand up, take its place, and do the work of the ministry by fulfilling each individual calling.
The church has work to do and a mission to fulfill, and we need to continually look forward to what God has in store!
2024 – Here We Come!
It’s hard to believe, but we are into the 4th quarter of 2023. As we move closer to the end of the year, it might be a good time to think about your 2024 church planning and what you should be doing now.
There is an old saying, “If you fail to plan – you plan to fail.”
No words have ever had more meaning. It is important to plan.
Planning helps us focus on church priorities that move us closer to achieving our mission.
Focused priorities ensure there are the necessary resources available in the next 12 months to support church strategy.
If you haven’t already, now might be a good time to start scheduling those church leadership meetings to discuss plans for 2024.
2024 Church Planning – 10 Things to Consider
1. The New Normal – Online Church
The pandemic created a need for an online church experience, and churches did a great job scrambling to provide that service to their members.
The expectation for an online church experience continues – even though we are considered out of the pandemic.
Church leaders are frustrated that a small population of members prefer to experience church from their homes. After all, fellowship is an important part of the church.
Embrace this new trend and work to create systems, processes, and support for the online community.
For instance, create a Bible study that is geared toward people who would prefer to be at home. Or create prayer walls, Facebook groups, and volunteers to help manage this population.
Work with this community where they are. This personalized support may be what is needed to get those folks back in the physical church.
2. Church Strategy
The fourth quarter of the year is a great time to revisit the strategy, plans, and current direction of your church.
A written church strategic plan is used to systematically take steps to achieve the church mission, develop members, and enhance church programs.
Focused discussions should include planning for the predictable – as well as the unpredictable.
For instance, if you have an aging staff, include succession planning in your 2024 conversations.
Devote some time to do a SWOT analysis and talk about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that face your church.
Brainstorm ways your church can build on its strengths and address its weaknesses.
For example, look at those things that might be standing in the way of your church fulfilling its mission. And then make a plan to remove those obstacles.
3. Set 2024 Church Goals
Goals can be a tool to translate strategy into actionable steps and ultimately get things done.
Church Goals should be written, managed, and achieved to support the strategy and plan.
Spend the time to write church goals for 2024. Put them on paper and assign responsibility to get them done.
For instance, if your church has a goal to increase volunteer participation, assign that responsibility to someone and hold them accountable to get it done.
Monitor goals monthly and manage them through a performance management process.
For instance, department managers should meet with staff regularly to monitor progress toward completing goals.
4. Create A Church Budget
Budgeting ensures responsible stewardship of church financial resources.
This process should include looking at how the ministry spends its resources and how it plans to invest in those things that further its mission.
Look also at those capital equipment needs and put a plan and budget in place to ensure the funds are available when needed.
For example, if your soundboard is on its last leg, reserve some resources for next year now so you don’t end up having a Sunday to remember!
5. Review Policies And Procedures
Written Policies and procedures provide direction for how work gets done.
Take the time to add, review, and update policies and procedures.
For instance, if your church had to scramble to learn how to stream church services at the peak of COVID-19, capture every step of the process and record what was learned.
Document lessons learned and write policy, process, and accountability standards. You never know when you might need that knowledge again!
Take what you learned and systematically improve.
Don’t rely on memory. Write them down!
6. Learn From Church Volunteers
Volunteers are the labor engine of the church, and without them, most churches would have to close their doors.
The goal is to put a plan in place to improve the volunteer experience.
Volunteers have a great perspective and can offer insight into improving operational efficiencies.
For instance, a volunteer in the Children’s Ministry may have creative ideas for improving the experience for a mother dropping off young children.
Take advantage of this collective knowledge and spend the time and resources to support volunteer efforts!
7. Write Goals For Church Employees
Church employees facilitate the church experience and have special needs.
Talk to your employees and look for ways to keep them engaged and committed.
Burned-out employees simply go through the motions, so spend time finding ways to keep them focused!
Church volunteers and members rely heavily on church employees, so be sure to take care of them!
8. Talk To Church Members
Members have a vested interest in the church. Invest the time in trying to understand the member experience so you can incorporate their needs into a strategy.
Members are the financial engine of the church, so talk to them and ensure the church is meeting their needs – within the boundaries of the church mission.
Spend some time focusing on church members and identifying their spiritual and social needs.
For example, if there is an aging demographic in the church body, make a plan and budget some resources to start a program for people over 60.
Investing in these groups can pay off big time through donations. Pay attention to all demographics in your church.
9. Update Emergency Preparedness Plan
It seems like it is almost weekly, there are disasters, mass shootings, and unexpected crises erupting.
Every church should have a plan to activate in an emergency.
Now is an excellent time to review and update the emergency preparedness plan to ensure your church is ready for the unexpected.
It is only wise to have a plan and know how to respond in an emergency. Who more than the church should be prepared?
10. 2024 Church Events
Events and churches go hand in hand. Churches use events to provide fellowship opportunities for members and to provide community outreach.
Summer Vacation Bible School, Church Picnics, Sunday Pancake Breakfasts, and Mission trips are common events.
Take the time now to determine what church events you will host in 2024 and start working on a plan.
The World Needs The Church!
Churches are the light in this very dark world and provide hope for us all. Take the time to plan now for next year so your church can continue to reach your community.
Have you mapped out a plan for 2024?
We Can Help With Your Planning!
Did you know that many of the documents needed for planning are included in our library? Check out our library of church forms, documents, and job descriptions!