Church Planning: Make One Year Plan

I don’t know about you, but in church planning, I often hope God will just download a course of action into my brain. Especially when I’m overwhelmed.

church planning

I don’t know about you, but in church planning, I often hope God will just download a course of action into my brain. Especially when I’m overwhelmed by life, I sometimes want to skip the journey and just have God magically show me a one year plan.    

In Exodus 18, Jethro observes his son-in-law Moses’s judicial administrative methods and then gives sage advice on delegation. The outcome was a much more efficient way of serving the people.

Have you ever wondered why God, who gave Moses such detailed instructions about things like the construction of the tabernacle and the keeping of the law, never instructed Moses on how he was to perform his role? Why didn’t God just tell Moses that from the beginning?

I think one very important reason is God understands how influential he is. He does not intend the vast majority of our methods or systems to be considered sacred. So, even if he approves of them, he doesn’t endorse them. He does not want us to make an idol out of what is only meant to be helpful.

I believe, in our prayers for administrative wisdom, we should expect God to send us Jethros and not always some special revelation.

So, how do we learn to take responsibility to become strategic and wise in how we plan our time? I am going to share with you about a way to make a one year plan for the next year.

To plan the best year possible, you have to think about the big rocks in your life first. Picture a large jar. If you have to fill it with sand and rocks, what will happen if you put the sand in first? The large rocks won’t fit. If you put the large rocks in first, the sand will slide in around them and you can fit it all in the jar. 

Before Making a One Year Plan 

Your own spiritual life

You can’t lead anyone where you are not going. We share the life we currently have in Jesus with those around us. If we are haggard, tired, and uninspired, we don’t have much to give and life with Jesus is not very attractive to those around us. 

Your key relationships

In our drive for ministry, we can put our marriages, families, and friendships to the side thinking we will catch up once the church grows or becomes more sustainable. The truth is you will never get that time back with your kids, spouse, or friends.

Personal Health

It’s important to take care of your body as you lead people. Sometimes we want to pray that God will heal us when what we actually need to do is go to sleep on time, eat better,  and move more. 

After these key rocks are in place, you can begin to consider the big rocks of your church. 

Think about the larger areas of focus for your ministry. What does your church need to grow in right now? Are you trying to develop a leader in a specific ministry or invite more people to your services?

Once you decide what these big rocks are, you map them out into categories of what needs to be done yearly, quarterly, monthly, or weekly. Here are some examples of things that gp into a one year plan.

Church Planning: Make One Year Plan

Yearly or quarterly

  • Spiritual Life: Pull away for solitude and prayer on a silent retreat. 
  • Relationships: Get away on vacation with your spouse without your kids. If you don’t have a lot of money for this, send your kids to a friends house and stay home. 
  • Health: Schedule your annual physical exam. 
  • Church Planning: Hold 4-6 large events. Your main job as a church planter is to gather people!


  • Spiritual: Engage in practices like fasting and having larger chunks of prayer time. 
  • Relationships: Have a date night out with your spouse. 
  • Health: Go on a hike. 
  • Church Planning: Hold smaller social events like parties, potlucks, and other gatherings. 


  • Spiritual: Have daily time with God for prayer and worship. 
  • Relationships: Pray for your spouse and kids. Stay home with your spouse one night a week. 
  • Health: Plan healthy meals and get into a regular sleep routine. 
  • Church Planning: Find a niche activity where you can meet and spend time with people outside of your church like a gym, bowling league, or book club. You’ll also need to develop weekly rhythms for preaching and discipleship. Don’t reinvent the wheel though. Borrow from what already exists. 

In my experience, a church planter’s week should look something like: 

  • 20 hours of meeting with people
  • 4 hours sermon prep
  • 4 hours for your church service 
  • 12 hours for admin, planning, and events

There are no short-cuts to an intentional life or church planning. It may take you some time to build a one year plan for yourself and get it all onto your calendar, but then you’ll be on your way to a purposeful year that reflects your values and goals. 

View additional resources from Multiply Vineyard here


This article on making a one year plan originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

Michael Hansen
Michael is the lead pastor of the Vineyard Church of Delaware County. He grew up in western Canada and is passionate about having a healthy and active church. He loves to encourage and equip people to know God and to discover who he has made them to be. In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar, reading books, and watching hockey. Michael is married to his wife, Helen and has two adult sons, Jeremy and Daniel.