calendaring201I just picked up a 2017 calendar from the office supply store which means I just printed my own 2018 calendar. Which means I printed the two counties’ school 2017-2018 calendars. Which means I am preparing for 2017 in September of 2016. My parents and families need calendars for the next year so I can’t just throw things together and hope it fits the rhythm of my community.

The first installment of my calendaring process can be found here at Calendaring 101. But what else?

Calendaring is not planning. Calendaring is about partnering. Calendaring is putting on the calendar that which complements other ministries: Holy Week, Advent, Missions, Stewardship, Good Friday, One Service Sundays, Youth Mission Trips, etc. AND what I know about my own community: school calendars, scout calendars, band/music calendars, local festivals which happen the same time every year, etc. so when I plan special events and time specific to my families as ‘church’, I am a help to my families. We are no help to families when we are one more thing to add to their calendar nor one more thing for my families to feel guilty about because of the hard choices they make each day of what is best. Calendaring should help offer a healthy rhythm for volunteers and should give families some ‘easy wins.’

It helps that our pastor gives us the next year’s sermon schedule a few months before year-end. We calendar to partner with another ministry by piggy-backing: Missions Lunch & Easter Egg Hunt on Palm Sunday; CLUB345 Bake Sale fundraiser for camp & Youth Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday, etc.. Partnering with other ministry events/specials offer greater opportunities for intergenerational relationships and sticky memories in the hearts of minds of our little people. Always a huge win!

Then there’s what you want to start new.  How does it fit in the mix? First, you evaluate the ‘whipped cream’ of your ministries. Anything outside of Sunday am programming is ‘whipped cream’. Sunday is the ‘daily bread’ of Children’s Ministry and it must be done to the best of our abilities and resources.  For example, we noticed this year a lessening of enthusiasm for The Saints Book Club, so we will be taking a jubilee from that in 2017. Thus opening a spot for something I’ve been tossing around in my head for a couple of years now. The challenge comes when it’s all good, but we have limited resources in volunteers, champions, funding, and time. So let’s be intentional about offering what is best: be in prayer, talk with your parents, chat it up among your students, run it by your pastor.

Don’t forget to plan for personal time away for education, for rest, for reevaluation, and for celebration. The white space will fill quickly. Calendaring is how we offer easy wins for families, including your own. Shauna Niequist wrote in Present Over Perfect, “I fake-rested instead of real-rested, and then I found that I was real-tired.” She went on to write, “Loving one’s work is a gift. And loving one’s work makes it really easy to neglect other parts of life. People love it when you say yes, and they get used to it. But you can’t have a yes without no. If you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without even realizing it.”

“Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.” Parker Palmer in Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation as quoted in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to be Spiritually Mature While Remaining Emotionally Immature by Peter Scazzero.