past future edit


I do not normally post on Saturday but Ryan Latham made me. I’m just kidding. Ryan is closing out our week on Planning posts with a challenge to look back on last year to see if we can learn from the past to forge the future. Enjoy. 

I just got out of a meeting where we reviewed one of the events we did this week.  Before the meeting I didn’t see much need for it because the event went well and everyone was happy, but we try to always review our events, even when they go well!  During the meeting we celebrated the great victory that we had and encouraged each other.  We came up with some valuable improvements that will take our event to the next level; improvements that we would have missed had we not met.

Here are some ideas of what to cover during review meetings.

Make sure you have the right people at the table:

It is so important that you have the right people helping you review your ministry.  Andy Stanley says that the right person my not have the “right title” and the person with the “right title” may not be the right person to be at the table.  Click here to read more.

Celebrate the wins:

We often forget to slow down and celebrate the hard work that goes into making an event awesome.  So many of us are visionaries and are always looking to the next big event.  We need to understand that what happens after the event is just as important as the event.  Take some time and some money to celebrate together.  Thank people for their hard work.  We have all heard it said, “What gets rewarded, gets repeated.”

Overall feel:

This is a big picture look at the event, not a time to examine the details.

  • Did people like the event?
  • How was attendance?
  • Any major mistakes?

Ask open-ended questions:

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • Why do you think these worked/didn’t work?
  • What did you like/dislike about…?
  • How can we improve?
    • Schedule
    • Promo
    • Budget


Communication is something that needs to constantly be talked about.  Often times we as youth pastors feel that we are over-communicating and volunteers and students feel like we are under-communicating or are unclear about our communication.   I encourage you to always talk about how to better communicate.

“What It Takes” form:

This is a 2-3 page form that details all the action steps, important contact information, goals, and timeline for all your events.  To read about making a “What It Takes” form, click here.

Staff retreat:

June or July is a great time to take a two-day retreat with your key staff and/or volunteers.  This is a great time of extreme focus to help you review, ask questions, set goals and gain vision for the year.

Look back, look forward:

There are three essential times when we review our past to prepare for our future; every June, every November, and after every event.

  • June:

In June we review the events from the year and submit the next year’s plans.  To learn more you can read, “HELP! No One Shows Up to My Events.”

  • November:

In November we review budgets from the previous year and turn in our budget for the next year.

  •  After events:

As part of our event planning we inlcude a review meeting.  This is a great time to bring out the “What It Takes” form and review and plan.  Write down questions that you want to bring up when you have a leadership meeting or at your next staff retreat.

Missed any of our posts on planning? Start HERE

Questions:  What does your past tell you about your future?  Do you have a SIP (System In Place) for review and planning?

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