Happy-New-Year-Wallpaper-WishesA brand new calendar with all it’s white space makes me downright giddy. In preparing for the next calendar year, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
A. What will be our focus the next year…as a church…as a ministry with children?
B. What are the important days that are ‘known’ or ‘tradition’ in my church and community so children’s ministry can piggy-back or involve little people?
C. For what events do we already have champions to take the point and advocate?
D. What are my professional and personal priorities I wish to guard with the calendar?

Gather supplies and documents:
1. Last year’s calendar. Why? to record when to begin planning for specials and record major cultural holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Veteran’s Day, etc. Ex: Trunk or Treat in October requires a start in hard planning in July to get local advertising in; the year Palm Sunday started a spring break.

2. Church calendar. Why? so as not to conflict with hard dates for space and volunteer base. Ex: Anything that has to do with major seasons like Lent and Advent; Anything that requires all church hands on deck like a Fall Festival will drain a volunteer base for a period of time.

3. Global church calendar. Why? General Conferences when changes in how we do church business can happen and special offerings. Ex: We need to be in prayer for global missions and church business; Reminds us we are in partnership with the global church.

planning-calendar-pic4. Liturgical calendar. Why? Using colors and practices as past saints connect us to our heritage of faith. Ex: Advent is purple, not red & green; The wise men come out for Epiphany and not Advent.

5. Pencil and a really good eraser. Why? I’m visual and neat erasing matters.

6. School calendar. Why? Gotta plan for when families won’t be here as well as when they will be. Ex: Fall and spring breaks = low attendance Sundays.

7. Youth calendar. Why? Many specials for children require youth help. Ex: Coordinating VBS with summer youth mission trips; Parent’s Night Out on a night when the youth may be on a retreat; Christmas parties that would possibly require parents to be in two places at once.

8. Networking, Conference, Training dates. Why? The connection outside of your own house face-to-face with live people is what keeps you at your best, encouraged, and provides energy.  Ex: Our KidMin networking group meets once a month on the first Wednesday of the month; Choosing my training for the next year helps me stay on task for the focus of the next year; Early bird prices are much more budget friendly.

planningThen it’s time to start mapping out the year. Find a block of uninterrupted time to put it on paper. Pray for clarity and direction before, during, and after. Pencil in what you now know. Remember the rhythm of your community. Be sensitive to time expectations of your volunteers and your families. Don’t forget to map out your Sundays and Wednesdays, as this is the ‘daily bread’ of Children’s Ministry and it must be done well. Be sure to calendar rest, vacation, family events, and debriefing following an event/training.

When it’s finished, we all know it isn’t really finished. It’s a working document, but it’s a start to keep your priorities in line, plan well in advance, communicate well with your team and your family knows they are just as much a priority as your ministry. Oh, and be sure the church secretary and pastor have a copy. Maybe deliver it with their favorite beverage…cherry coke or diet Sunkist, anyone?

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9