Navigating Seasonal Transitions: Planning for Success in Ministry

Once Christmas rolls around, I like to shut down until the new year. I want to rest, eat leftover cookies, ski, and catch up on sleep. The challenge is maintaining momentum before this break. While there are still events to attend and things to communicate to our volunteers, this period also presents an opportunity to establish key goals for the upcoming year.

Whenever you're approaching a transition, whether it's spring programming moving into summer or preparing for the fall, it's crucial to have a plan for exiting the transition as well as entering it. Each time I enter a new ministry season, I like to reexamine these three areas:


It's during this season when I'm looking at our expenses through the first half of the fiscal year: Are we still on budget? Where did we go over, and where do we still have margin? I also like to consider what we might need for the future. Should I request an increase in materials or training? If the budget is tight, where can I make sacrifices and cut back? Are we still using this subscription or that account?

I won't lie; I don't particularly enjoy budgeting. However, breaking down the process over the year and using these seasons to examine it makes the task less daunting than right before budget requests are due. If you're unsure about tackling this alone, consider sitting down with your bookkeeper or business manager every quarter. Invite a volunteer with a knack for finances to help you keep track. Staying ahead of the financial conversation brings more freedom with your budget, even if it's not what you want it to be.


Recruiting should not be postponed until the late summer months, especially in a catechetical ministry. Inviting others to serve is an ongoing process because the Spirit is always stirring in the hearts of your parishioners.

In addition to recruiting, assess the health of your team. During these transition seasons, people may step away or need extra encouragement. During late spring and early fall, evaluate training opportunities for our volunteers. Don't feel pressured to host and plan your training alone; consider contacting the diocese or different organizations. Sometimes, other parishes or churches will open their doors to have your team learn with them. Regardless, look at ways to grow and strengthen the team.


While disconnecting during the holidays is beneficial, it's important to be intentional about self-care and personal development. Don't hesitate to book those vacations well in advance and throughout the year. Even if it's just extending a weekend or taking a day for a retreat, make it a priority. We've seen too many good men and women burn out because they put themselves second.

Contact your diocese or local retreat centers, or sign up for coaching or a cohort. If you're unsure where to start with self-care and formation, reach out to us for a free consultation. Even if we don't have the right resources, we can point you in the right direction.

Don't let the seasonal transitions in your ministry fly by. Be intentional and proactive by looking at your budget, building your team, and investing in yourself. Taking the time to plan helps you see the bigger picture. And it's in the big picture that we rediscover God's plan, which brings us joy.

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