1. Keep building relationships.
    Relationships are key when it comes to leading effective ministries. Don't discredit your knowledge or experience when working with various ministries or leaders. But, take the time to get to know them and understand their goals so you can use your expertise to offer sound recommendations and options. Make an effort to build trust among ministries. Encourage other ministries when they have a win. Help them understand that, even though you need to say no once in awhile, you want to see their ministry goals achieved. If you have a communications team, set aside time to care for that group as well. Order in a fun lunch during a meeting or give each one a personal thank-you note for all they contributed last year.

  2. Declare the priorities.
    What are you trying to accomplish this year in communications? Need to move forward with your social media strategy? Refresh a publication or your church app? Sometimes declaring your priority is half the battle. Choose at least one goal for this year and define a timeframe. This is a great time to refocus on your tiered communications planning as well. What priorities have been established for your church for the year? If you’re not sure, ask. What are the Tier 1 items that everyone needs to know about in the next few months? How can you help support key ministries with their Tier 2 messages? If you haven’t scheduled a planning session with your key ministries, be proactive and reach out to them. This will help grow your relationship and help them achieve their ministry goals!
  3. Plan the work.
    What is it going to take to accomplish your goals? Use a project management system like Basecamp, Teamwork or Trello to keep track of to-do items and deadlines. Consider setting up your ministry area to run like an agency. Know how many hours you will (and should) spend on various project components (meetings, writing, design, etc.). We know it's challenging to balance multiple projects among ministries. Once you understand what it really takes to move a project from start to finish, you can better plan timetables, workflow, people resources and budget.

  4. Work the plan.
    Once you’ve established the plan for a project, stick to it, allowing grace now and then for a good idea late in the process. Communications ministry requires flexibility but often we sabotage ourselves with distractions and veering off course. Know how you work and design your day to maximize your natural energy. Do you like to work hard, then play hard? Or work a little, play a little, work a little? To provide added structure, schedule appointments on your calendar to work on various projects, even if it’s just you alone at your desk. Allow at least at one-hour buffer in each day for email, planning, unexpected conversations, etc.

  5. Ask for help.
    It really does take a team, so don’t go it alone. As you plan for various initiatives, consider where you can invite team members or volunteers to offer insight and practical help. Planning ahead should give you more lead time, making it easier for volunteers to be included in the process. Could you use help with writing, video, photography, social media? Make this a goal for 2018 and take it one step at a time. Also, consider how accountability is built into your role. We all need it. Who are you sharing your ministry goals with? We all need encouragers who will help keep us on track, brainstorm with us and challenge us to offer our very best.

Want to set aside some planning and strategy time for 2018? Join us at The Table on February 21 at Cornerstone Lutheran's new Fishers campus! This workshop will help you map out your 2018 priorities and connect you with other churches in the area.