Life Planning


By: Justin Anderson

I’ve admitted before that I don’t enjoy the summertime. I don’t like being hot, my schedule gets all messed up and I feel the pressure to make summer awesome for my kids. In other words (or in my wife’s words), I’m lame.

The thing I do like about summer though is the opportunity to do some long-term planning. For most of us, summer is a slower time for ministry. People are traveling and inconsistent so most churches take the opportunity to reduce the amount of weekly programming. This creates space for long-term planning.

When I coach or consult with churches, I typically encourage them to do annual planning with a summertime refresh. I don’t think you should redo your annual plan in the summer (unless something crazy has happened), but it is a good time to take a look at it and see if there are tweaks or updates that need to be made.

I think this is an important thing to do for your church, but I also encourage you to take a look at your Life Plan during the summer as well. In fact, I would specifically recommend taking two days away by yourself, or potentially with your small leadership team, to think and pray through both of these plans.

If you haven’t done a Life Plan, then please stop everything and do one now.

You can go HERE to purchase our Pastor Guide Life Planning module. I couldn’t recommend this more heartily. I know that many of you are not the life planning type, but I am convinced that you need to become one, or at least fake it.

The greatest value of a Life Plan isn’t so much the plan itself (though that’s very valuable), it’s the process. The Life Planning process will force you to think critically and intentionally about your life and ministry in ways you probably haven’t before. It will ask you to assess what is going well, what isn’t and what you need to prioritize in the coming months.

A Life Plan has little to do with your work or ministry, and that’s the point. In fact, some pastors struggle with this because they are so focused on succeeding in their work. They want to rush through conversations about their health, family, and marriage and just get to the part where they become a better preacher or leader.

We all need to become better preachers and leaders, but if our family or personal health falls apart in the process, it isn’t worth it.

Life Planning will force you to think hard about your priorities and your future. It will make you picture your preferred future and work backward to your habits and schedule. It is an invaluable resource and the summertime is the ideal time to do it or refresh one that you have already done (but probably haven’t looked at in months).

 So let’s all suck it up, deal with the vagaries of summer, and at least comfort ourselves with the pleasure of making a Life Plan.