The older I get the more time flies.
It seems that we've just completed Easter Services and the summer sermon series has barely been finished.
Now, Christmas planning is happening. You are planning for Christmas, right?
I was recently leading a church communication seminar and a communicator asked me, "why is it that I'm the one who always surprises my Pastor that Christmas is coming?". I know this was asked in jest (I hope) but the truth behind it is sobering. Pastor's get a bad rap because most aren't known for being planners when it comes to church communication.
Sermons and sermon series should be handed off to your communication team several weeks (months) in advance.
Why? Here are 3 reasons:
1. Creative opportunities will arise.
Usually most people just need a deadline to get something done. Without a deadline we complete tasks near to the final requirement. If you can decide something a few days before, you can decide it a few months before.
Christmas and Easter aren't a surprise on the church calendar. You know what you'll talk about, the scripture you'll touch on, and the time of year won't shift ever. Just do it. Plan several weeks in advance for your topic and commit to it. You'll be surprised how many additional creative opportunities will arise out of the additional time that's allowed.
2. Good communication takes time.
Once you plan in advance, the opportunities are endless. You can create a teaser campaign, a printed card, theme your website, an extended social media campaign, and even do banners around your church and community.
Good creative communication takes time. Often, we limit ourselves by manpower and the few hours allowed. What if God wants to do something amazing but you haven't allowed the time to produce it?!
3. The Holy Spirit works through planning.
I regularly hear that "I don't like to over-plan because I want to allow the Holy Spirit to show up". This is a crutch for not doing things the right way. God will use your planning to allow everyone on your team to contribute and identify stories of how the Holy Spirit is working all around you. That coordination (and time) is essential if you want to tell the stories during the service or series. Try it.
Pray that God allows miraculous things to occur during your planning period. Yes, He can instantaneously produce miracles; your staff rarely can on a continuous basis. There's no time like the present to change.
With less than a dozen weeks until we exchange presents and talk of God's greatest gift, you can give your team the amazing gift of planning ahead. They'll ring in the new year with a sense of ownership and preparation. God will bless it. Mark MacDonald is a Bible Teacher, speaker, best-selling author of Be Known For Something, and communication strategist for BeKnownForSomething.com.
Mark MacDonald empowers churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, and social media. His book is available at BeKnownBook.com and amazon.com.