Do you get a pit in your stomach when it comes time for annual planning? Annual planning sessions can be frustrating. They can tend to fall on the extremes of a free-for-all or dictatorial marching orders. Neither approach gets good results or creates a healthy working environment.

The purpose of annual planning is to align sermon series, studies, and events for the coming year with the mission and vision of the church. However, that purpose is often lost to filling slots with whatever programs have become traditional for the congregation. Those traditions aren’t always on-mission, and can lead to the dilution of needed energy and resources. You can read my post on how this affects pastors HERE.

5 Steps to Effective Ministry Planning Meetings

Following these five simple steps ensures that not only does your meeting accomplish what you intend it to accomplish, but also that everyone involved is on the same page about what it’s supposed to accomplish. 

1. Determine Planning Outcomes

Decide on the purpose of the meeting before you plan it. Is the purpose to inform? To decide? To discuss? What do you hope to walk away with from the meeting? Your purpose for the meeting informs your agenda.

2. Inform Your Team

Communicate that agenda clearly to all participants. Plan a written agenda ahead of time and give it to the people who will be there. This allows them to mentally prepare for what the meeting is and is not about. If there’s something they need to do or read beforehand, make it clear that they are expected to do it.

3. Prioritize Planning

When you structure a meeting agenda with more than one item on it, always put the items in order of importance. By putting the most important items first, you ensure that you don’t run out of time to deal with those issues.

4. Set Time Boundaries

When you write up the meeting agenda, put an estimate next to each item for how long you expect it to take.

5. People Come First

Allow time for relationally connection at the beginning of the meeting. Check in to see how people are, hear updates from team members, and pray for one another


Managing Meetings Skills Builder- Ultimately, meetings will be successful if the people involved feel that they have been of value. This booklet highlights some of the approaches that can increase the value of your meetings, if adopted and regularly practiced.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Note: This blog was adapted from a post I wrote from Christian Coaching Tools.