The summer clock is ticking away, so what are you going to do to make the most of your time?

The last weeks of summer provide an ideal opportunity to make plans for your upcoming ministry programs. Careful planning during the summer months can reap wonderful benefits for programs that kick off in the fall.

Here is a menu of summer options. No one can do them all, so simply pick those that sound workable and plan to use some of the other ideas next summer.

Close out last year

Take time to reflect on each event you’ve led during the previous year. Begin by organizing the files you have kept for these activities, both paper and electronic. Evaluate each event’s strengths. List all the improvements you can imagine—no matter how silly they may seem at first. As you think, ask yourself if significant changes might be needed or if it might be time to replace the event with something else entirely. Few activities and events serve their intended purposes forever. As you consider these questions, make notes for future reference.

Think about next year

Begin by brainstorming ideas. Gather a small group of interested people to join you in this process. To gather additional information, consider using Survey Monkey to learn what those you serve think about interesting topics, the kinds of projects and events they prefer, and the best times to meet. Consider connecting with one or more workers from nearby churches. Sit down over lunch to share ministry ideas.

Map the year

Mapping out your events in advance creates lots of benefits. It helps people commit to volunteering and participating. It builds a sense of anticipation. It makes it possible to exploit new ideas and resources that pop up serendipitously. For all these reasons, write down as many events as possible as early as possible. Consider inputting the information electronically, through Google’s shared calendar, for example, so the information is accessible to anyone and everyone connected with your ministry. Consider having volunteers and participants sign up online, using a platform like SignUpGenius.

Research resources

Sharing ideas and reliable information with members—families, singles, seniors, or youth—is one way we can support them in their faith journey. Navigating the wealth of information online is daunting. Take a few summer days to develop a list of articles, activities, or website links. Then plan to share these a few at a time each month throughout the coming year. Consider posting this information on your social media accounts, too.

Editor’s note: As you prepare for the year ahead, be sure to check out CTA’s Resource & Idea Center. There are tips, tricks, and ideas for ministry events throughout the year!


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