Finally! I have a series plan for all of 2007. The plan is always a draft and always changes, but it's still so helpful. Drawing up the plan is very difficult and the process is never the same. I'm going to be addressing the process in one of the Small Group Leader Conference breakouts, but there's no science to it. Prayer is essential, but prayer rarely leads to immediate breakthroughs. Breakthroughs come in fits and starts and are often closely related to my CQ/EQ (Creativity Quotient/Energy Quotient).
The challenges in coming up with a plan have to do with coming up with a spiritually balanced menu for the year and eliminating so many good and great possibilities. Can't do it all. The timing of series is also a challenge. I like to start a new series in January, on Easter and in September. Most series are about four-five weeks long, but you never want to start a series on a holiday weekend, teachers' workdays or something like spring break. You have to keep in mind special events in the church's life like campaigns and the Hudson launch. And you want to use opportunities presented by pop culture or major events. It gets pretty complicated sometimes.
Once I have the overall plan, I have to come up with more detailed plans several weeks before a series starts so that the worship arts teams can plan, write sketches, shoot video, prepare graphics and other visual elements, etc., and so that the Group Life writing team can start preparing Bible studies.
I have a love/hate relationship with the process. I love planning and looking into the future. I have a huge file of ideas that's always growing, and it's fun to dream and plan. I get lots of help from staff and others along the way. Suggestions from our members are also seriously considered. While I plan, I have the seven arenas of everyday life in mind: personal, home, small group, church, vocation, society, and the world. What I hate about it is that I can never keep up. Life and leadership get in the way. And then there's always my CQ/EQ which is needed not only for creativity and output, it's needed for deciding between so many good options.