|Summertime to-do list|
|Written by Tom Ehrich|
Sometime this summer, four things need to happen:First, you need to clean up your numbers and think about them. That means clarifying your membership roster — who’s with you on Sunday, who has moved on — but it means more than that.
It means studying your metrics for the past year. Sunday visitors, for example, and how many of them joined. Baptisms vs. burials. Sunday School enrollment. Average Sunday attendance. And more.
Chart it out: this year vs. recent years; non-Sunday ways your congregation seems to be having impact.
Summer is a good time for this, because you aren’t staring at the annual budget drama. You can study the numbers, discern what they mean, and consider ways to strengthen key performance areas, like membership development, and have those enhancements ready for fall start-up. Also, you can consider how to leverage non-Sunday impact to touch more lives.
Second, the pastor and a key Session member or two (personnel chair, clerk of session?) need to spend some quality time together, reflecting on the past year. Not an end-of-year performance review tied to salary, but mutual discernment of trends, moods, signs of stress and success, and how each feels about his or her job.
Third, that quiet discernment needs to spread out to the key leadership circle. Not a planning retreat or program review, but a series of quiet conversations to reflect together on how each feels about being a church leader in these trying times.
Finally, the pastor must take a vacation. This should be non-negotiable. The job of pastor is too physically, emotionally and spiritually demanding to keep at it without a significant break.
If you tend to these four matters, then you will be prepared for the new program year.
Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant, and Episcopal priest based in New York. He is the publisher of On a Journey, and the founder of the Church Wellness Project www.churchwellness.com.