Planning Systems

Summer is almost gone, and the new school year is fast approaching fast, so during the month of August, we’ll be talking about planning. Planning is one of the most vital parts of every effective children’s ministry. Without it, even the most talented and spiritual children’s pastors will fail. A planning system is the first step.

Every children’s pastor should have a planning system. There are many planning systems to choose from. There are computer programs, various planning notebooks, apps for smart phones and tablets, and good old-fashioned spiral notebooks and legal pads. The important thing is to choose a system that is easy to use and works for you.

These are the items every good planning system should have:

Monthly Calendar: Try not to have a number of calendars floating around for church, home, and other activities. Your home, church, and work calendars need to be combined. You can use color coding to categorize events. But if you don’t combine your calendars, it can make things confusing, and you will end up forgetting something because it was in the other calendar.

One way around having multiple calendars is to computerize your calendar and have it synced on all of your devices. Windows Live, Google Calendars, Dropbox, and I-cloud are all easy to use and set up. If you need instructions, just type your questions in your search engine for step by step directions.

If you’re old school and use paper calendars, make sure you have one main calendar that records all your events. That calendar will have to be portable so you can take it with you wherever you go.

To Do or Task List: Use a monthly, weekly, or daily to do list to remind you of tasks you need done. Be sure to list if you are delegating any of these tasks and need to follow-up and with whom. You can use a task list app on your smart phone or tablet, but be sure to sync it to all your devices. This works well for delegating because you can send email or text reminders.

Address/Contact List: Don’t just list personal contacts. Keep a list of children’s workers, students in your ministry, and businesses that have resources you may need. Communication with email, texting, and Facebook has never been easier.

Important Personal Info: This would be birth dates, medical insurance, tax ID number for the church, and other important information you might need. OneNote or Pages are two great programs to keep all information like this stored in one place.

Schedule: This can be weekly or daily depending on your needs. Schedule like activities together. For instance, any phone calls you need to make could all be made at the same time. Also errands that need to be run, if all done at once, will take less time.

Project Manager: Any large project you have should have a project timeline, staff list, and budget. This will save you time in the long run. After you create your timeline, add events to your calendar and to do lists.

File Program: You need a program where you can store all the information you need. In the past, a filing cabinet would be used, but now OneNote and Pages does the work of a filing cabinet and is easier to use.

Planning may seem like a lot of work until you’re used to doing it. But in the long run, it will save you time and energy and keep you focused on ministry goals. Throughout the month, I’ll review ways to do this and apps and programs that will help.