This season is like no other. The rush and hurry of preparing Advent and Christmas services seems to go faster and faster. I seem to make the commitment of "starting earlier" next year in preparing, but other things seem to get in the way. Those other things don't get in the way intentionally, but they creep up on us and once again the reality sets in that Thanksgiving is now over and Advent and Christmas services will soon be here. The realities of life outside of my role as a worship director have intensified the past year.
I've always plan a yearly calendar and seem to map out service that are special to us: Candlelight, Christmas Day, etc. But in the midst of my planning there seems to be a lack of planning as well. The "online" worship planning subscriptions seem to be too tedious, the paper version (although reliable) seems to be not fast enough. But the Advent and Christmas season always comes when we least expect it.
Now you may think that I just don't plan, or have no plan of action to think ahead, but frankly, I'm already thinking about next year and what do we change, what we keep, and what will next year look like on the calendar. I've been busy in ministry the entire year and even though there seems to be brief lulls of actual activity of choir, praise team, and brass rehearsals, this time of year always seems to creep up on me like someone jumping out of the closet to suprise me, and all of a sudden we are thrown into the depths of the Advent and Christmas season without much notice.
In your plans and preparations, what tools do you use to "plan ahead" and look into the future for your ministry?