Help for small Church pastors to start 2017.

If you have not already done these three things,  pray, seek God’s will, and start moving forward.

15826583_10154132945531828_7069625561356625094_nAsk God for direction

Scripture is clear that planning and preparation without humility before God are sinful.  James 4:13-17 is one such Scripture that gives us this position.  Paul reminds us that all work is fruitful only because of God’s blessing (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:7).  Again, James gives us the go ahead on planning as long as we keep our eyes on God’s will.

It is my practice to ask God to help me see where we are going.  Where does God want us to go this year?  Once God has given direction, we then need to know what our current reality is?  Once we know where our feet are resting, we can pray and ask God how He wants us to get there.  Check out the follow posts that focus on this type of work from Nehemiah (hereherehere, and here).

Work on the calendar

This year presented many churches with a cultural and religious tension.  What to do on Christmas and New Years.  These both took place on Sundays.  My question to you, do you know when Easter is and what day Christmas will be this year?  What about the other Christian holy days?  Have revivals been scheduled or homecomings?  VBS?

Get a hold of a calendar and with God’s direction in mind, starting filling in that timetable.  If you plan sermon series, you’ll have a better idea of the route you can take and how God can use you to lead the Church.  Once you have at least a tentative calendar made, you can begin to share it with the other leaders in the congregation.  They have helped me to remember many things that I have forgotten and have contributed in shaping my understanding of God’s will for the congregation.

Having the calendar settled makes it easier for the next helpful task…

Prepare the budget

Knowing the yearly and month to month funds is vital in leading a congregation.  You do not want the budget to be fully centered on maintaining where you currently are.  God requires faithful stewardship, and I have seen personal ministries and congregations derailed by debts and non-budgeting.  No one can predict what surprises will happen, but you can budget in preparation for such a time as those.

More importantly, is that you have to plan for ministry.  Outreach efforts can require funds.  Benevolent gifts and help from the church to individual’s in the community can’t happen if funds are going to operate un-evangelizing, non-disciple forming, non-worshipful activities.