Watching my father, Dr. David Teis, plan the church calendar every year while growing up was the inspiration I needed to become a planner. His dedication to his church continues to this day with 35 years of ministry and 850 members. I have also learned planning skills from reading a multitude of books on the subject, but the idea for Vision Sunday came from a pastor-friend in California named Paul Chappell. For the last 25 years, he has used vision night to keep his congregation on track as he lays out the plans for the coming year. This is the fourth step in my annual planning process… so… here we go…
On the 1st Sunday of Januar,y we celebrate our “Vision Sunday”. It is an event that includes Sunday Morning & Sunday Night.
#1 – Sunday Morning
When the people arrive on Sunday morning, they will notice large displays with hundreds of brand new, beautifully designed notebooks with their names and the year printed on the spine and the annual theme printed on the front. Inside they will find our new theme chorus written by Pastor Jason Coombes, the 1o goals for 2013, pastor’s preaching schedule, SHBC Media info Card, Missionary Map, Online Giving Advertisement, Small Group Prayer Journal, and plenty of room for our weekly sermon notes that double as a weekly at-home Bible study they use for our mid-week small groups. Everything is fresh that morning! The Music is fresh & new, the platform decoration is changed, and we begin a brand new sermon series related to our Annual Theme. They are also given the church calendar and tithing envelopes. I attempt to preach what I believe to be the main truth that our church will be studying that entire year, and we encourage everyone to come back that night.
#2 – Sunday Night
Three things must be accomplished this evening. First, we walk step-by-step through the church calendar making our church aware of those events that are crucial to the coming year’s success, i.e. next step Sunday, Anniversary Service, Easter Service, Couples Retreat, Big Day, etc. We encourage our people to prepare their personal calendars based upon these major events. Second, we walk through the 10 goals for the coming year. By this point, most of the church have heard of anything that might be buzz-worthy through the network of those who came to the Men’s Leadership Retreat. Men go home excited about the coming year and tell their wives; the wives tell their friends; and so on. We don’t discourage this in fact; we want most people to know about any major changes or goals for the coming year before they ever even arrive at Vision Night. Really it is only the fringe that will be surprised by anything on the list of 10 goals. The goal here though is not information as much as inspiration. We want to inspire the people with a sense of excitement and destiny that we are part of something great, something called the Kingdom of Christ, as we have plans to advance the Kingdom in amazing ways. Lastly, we desire to seek God’s face in prayer as a church. We ask that God would continue to use us to reach the World as well as out local community with the gospel of Christ. We take that time to really kneel at the feet of our Master and ask for His continued direction and blessing as we are faithful to do that which He is calling us to do.
I hope these 4 blog posts about annual planning have been helpful. I’d love any ideas you might have that can help me in my planning.
Please post any ideas or book suggestions below: