This year has been one that none of us will soon forget. Due to the pandemic, churches have struggled to stay alive. Churches have had to change how they conduct weekly services, clean and sanitize, and communicate with members! We all know that this pandemic will eventually be behind us and we need to continually look forward. That means we need a unique preparation plan for 2021.
It’s hard to believe that we’re in December of 2020. As we move closer to the end of the year, it’s a good time to think about your 2021 church planning and what you should be doing now.
There is an old saying, “If you fail to plan – you plan to fail.” These words have never been more true. Planning helps us stay focused on church priorities that move us closer to achieving our mission. If you haven’t already, now would be a great time to start scheduling those church leadership meetings to discuss plans for 2021.
What Your Church Leadership Needs to Think About For 2021
In 2020, churches have had to take unprecedented measures to just stay alive. Expect the virus to carry over into 2021, even as the vaccines are starting to be released. It’s going to take at least 6 months for these vaccinations to actually happen, maybe longer.
Your Church Budget in 2020
Audit church expenses and itemize those costs that were a result of COVID. For instance, pull those expenses related to new cleaning or sanitation products. Use this cost summary for your 2021 budget. Ask this question: Are you making it easy for people to give to your church, even in the times of COVID-19? If not, explore ways to make the giving experience better. For example, provide a "Give" or "Donate" button on your website that directs to popular applications like Paypal or Cashapp.
What Have We Learned in 2020?
Use your 2021 plan to memorialize what your church learned through the pandemic. Discuss lessons learned from this past year. For instance, if your church had to scramble to learn how to stream your church services, capture every step of the process, and record what was learned. Take what you learned and systematically improve. Document everything so new volunteers can be easily brought up to speed.
Goals for 2021
Yes, 2020 was very unpredictable and some of that same unpredictability may carry into 2021 as well, however, setting goals is still important. Creating measurable and flexible goals is vital so you can figure out what is working, what's not, and how/if to modify as the year goes on. Talk with your team about the upcoming year and get input. What can be done in 2021? Will we have to change how we do our Easter services? What events could we have online if meeting in larger groups is not an option?
Talk to Your Church Family
Your members have a vested interest in the church. Invest the time in trying to understand the member experience so you can incorporate their needs into a strategy. Members are also the financial engine of the church so create open communication with them. Make sure your church is meeting their needs – within the boundaries of the church mission. Spend some time focusing on church members and identifying their spiritual and social needs. Investing in these groups will help those during this difficult time.
Reach Out to Your Volunteers
Your volunteers are the lifeblood of the church, and without them, most churches would have to close their doors. Develop a volunteer strategy and spend some time soliciting feedback from your volunteers. The goal is to put a plan in place to improve the volunteer experience. Volunteers have a great perspective and can offer insight into improving operational efficiencies. Take advantage of this collective knowledge and spend the time and resources to support volunteer efforts.
2021 can be a good year for your church if you and your leaders put some time and effort into preparation. Don’t go it alone, get your trusted members involved.
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