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As we head into the new year, there are many steps you can take as church office staff to assist in the health of your church. Start the new year off well by implementing some of the steps outlined below. 

Steps to Start the New Year Well

1. Take A Look Back

Start the new year off well by first taking a critical look back. Evaluate your victories as well as failures from the prior year. Determine if there are goals that were not met and decide whether you will include them for the upcoming year. Examine why certain areas excelled and utilize similar methods to achieve goals in the new year. Assess any missed opportunities and areas for growth.

How to Identify Growth Opportunities 

Look at areas where you were successful in achieving your goals. As a team, ask, “What steps did we take that helped us succeed at …?” Then identify how you can implement similar strategies toward other goals.

Identify weaknesses from the prior year and see how you can improve on those moving forward. Consider together, “What areas within the church could we have managed better?” Or “Were there opportunities within the community that we overlooked at the time?” 

By reflecting on the prior year’s strengths and weaknesses, you can best prepare your congregation for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Prepare your goals for the upcoming year by building off of these reflections. 

2. Plan for the Year Ahead

Budget and Staffing Needs

One of the most important things you should do is ensure you have a solid financial plan in place. Look at areas where expenses may increase. Determine if there are ways you can accommodate those increases by reducing other categories. Furthermore, ensure you have adequate staff to support the church operations throughout the upcoming year. This article on overcoming common church staff challenges, addresses the issue of too much work, with not enough staff. Staff your team adequately to work well in the year ahead. 

Calendar and Events

Determine which events you want to carry forward from the prior year and set up a schedule to ensure these take place. Look for areas in which your church can expand outreach and evangelism efforts and develop corresponding events. This is also a great time to reevaluate things such as small groups to make sure they are continuing to meet the needs of the entire congregation.  

Goals and Vision

By developing strong goals and a vision statement for the year, you are setting your church up for success. These goals will be the driving force behind all of the decisions you make within the year, so make sure they align with your church’s overall mission. Determine if you will carry any of the prior year goals forward to the current year. For the uncompleted goals, identify what caused them to remain unfinished and decide how to avoid those setbacks. Finally, ensure you create goals that are achievable but also challenge the church to grow and strengthen. 

3. Focus on Prayer and Meditation

As a church, this is the most important step you can take to start the new year well. In the article 6 Steps For Church Leaders to Plan for the New Year, Vanderbloemen states “Every process should, of course, begin with prayer. Pray that God will reveal new insights about yourself and your ministry and give you insight into how to apply those insights.” Pray for your direction to come directly from the Lord so that you may follow His will in obedience. Church staff should set aside a significant amount of time in prayer for the new year. Call the congregation as a whole to pray for the direction of your church in the coming year. Spend time in prayer for the ministries and spiritual growth of your church. Also, pray on how your church can better evangelize to the community and spread the Gospel. 

Next Steps

The new year is the perfect time to evaluate the direction of the church. Following these steps will help ensure you are on a path to starting the new year off well. If you need additional resources on how to best prepare for the new year and beyond, check out the resources in the Church Relevance Course Shop.