Strategy for Planning a Successful Children's Ministry

You probably have this last-minute strategy for planning down to a science . . .

As soon as one Sunday is over, you start all over to make the next Sunday happen. 

Week in, week out.
Messy game after messy game.
Parent email after parent email.
Last-minute slide change after last-minute slide change.

If you zoom out even more, it probably feels like you were at this point in the year just a moment ago. Looking through the summer to the fall and wondering: What am I going to do?! How can I make this next year count?

If you’re feeling stuck, you’re not alone. We’ve all been stuck in this cycle, struggling to get momentum. Why? 

Because good intentions without an intentional strategy for planning won’t get anyone very far. 

Creating a strategy for planning energizes an entire ministry. It gives purpose to every event and every gathering. It centers your ministry around an approach that makes the things that matter most, matter most. We define strategy as a “plan of action with an end in mind.” Creating a strategy starts with asking: 

What do we want to accomplish in a kid’s life? What are the action steps needed to make that happen? 

Crystal Chiang and Mike Clear walk you through four filters for planning your year with strategy in mind. 

1. Complement, not compete – by planning with your school and community calendars in mind.

By thinking outside your ministry, you’ll end up creating natural intersections between family life and church life. You’ll communicate to families how much you care about their lives between Sundays, and create a better chance for everyone to engage with the events you offer. 

2. Create steps, not programs – as you approach your events for the year.

Building an intentional event strategy for planning will maximize the impact events have on students and minimize the stress of event planning your staff experiences. 

3. By recycling what matters most, you’ll create a teaching rhythm that prioritizes the things your students need to hear the most.

Everything the Bible says is important. But since our best calculations tell us you’ll only have 30-40 hours with your kids and students each year, you won’t be able to teach every kid every thing every year. Having a strategy for planning for the next year—maybe even the next few years—will help ensure you teach your students the most critical things while you have their attention. 

4. By re-engaging parents and volunteers, you’ll align and energize the people surrounding your ministry in a direction that helps influence the faith and future of a student.

Parenting is hard. Harder, dare we say, than planning out a strategic church calendar year. Parents need others to come alongside them to encourage, educate, and believe in them. They need someone to remind them that what they do matters and God chose them to do this. 


Let’s be real. Coming up with a strategy for planning for an entire year can feel daunting—especially when at the same time, you have to hold that strategy loosely and be prepared to pivot when things don’t go according to plan. (But you’re a pro at that already, right?!) 

You don’t need a PhD to plan your year. 

With this video, you can plan your entire ministry year strategically using some circles and x’s. You’ll . . .

  • experience the joy of getting ahead.
  • leave with an aligned plan across your entire family ministry.
  • start casting vision for the year.
  • know with confidence you’ve got a plan to lead a kid or teenager into a growing relationship with Jesus.

You get FREE access to 45-minutes of training, downloadable templates, and the tools to plan with confidence. So . . . plan your year with us! 

Start Planning Your Year

We hope this resource provides clear and easy steps to making this next year the easiest win your ministry has ever experienced. Because we believe being strategic—having a plan with a clear end in mind—means your curriculum, events, parents, and volunteers will all work seamlessly together to lead the kids and students in your church family towards a growing relationship with Jesus.