Most clergy plan worship for the coming program year in the summer. That usually means anticipating the preaching cycle, focusing themes and preaching series, gathering resources for major celebrations, and delegating responsibilities for music and drama. The more resources you gather now, the easier implementation will be when life gets really busy.

But have you trained the leadership teams? August is a great time to provide a day of “basic training” for the various worship and hospitality teams who will be the leading edge of evangelism. Train them in the core message and vision of the church; the positive behavior expectations they should model; the deep faith convictions they should be able to share easily with strangers. Train them to be sensitive to the emerging cultural diversity of the mission field. Train them remember names and refer contacts.

Basic training establishes a foundation for future evaluation and accountability. You can’t hold people accountable in things for which they have not been trained. Training will give your teams more self confidence and enable them to make spontaneous decisions. They will be much more flexible in the midst of surprises, and newcomers will be impressed by your standard of quality.