There are many skills that ministry leaders need to develop. Among them are skills like teaching & preaching, leading meetings, planning events, caring for people, responding to crises, and so on. However, there are some less fashionable skills that are just as essential. Here are five of them that have been on my mind lately.

Managing Checklists

Checklists are vital for leading an effective ministry. There are some things you have to do every single week. There are some things your ministry does every single week. There are also recurring events and projects that you do every quarter or every year. Learning to create checklists, manage them, and deploy them to your teams will significantly improve your effectiveness as a leader.

Weekly Checklists

Personal Weekly Checklist

This is a checklist of your own weekly tasks that have to get done no matter what. Currently, I use Reminders on my iPhone for these under a tab called “Jim’s Weekly”. Each task is labeled with the day of the week, a two letter abbreviation of the area of ministry and the task name. Each one is scheduled for a particular day and time according to when they should be completed and they all repeat weekly or biweekly.


Weekly Planning & Setup/Takedown Checklists
This is a checklist that guides the planning process for any weekly programs or events you have. There are certain elements that happen and questions to be answered every week. Furthermore, you’re constantly learning ways to improve your program/event. Why not add those tasks and questions to your weekly planning checklist? Our student ministries director prefers to use paper so she keeps a Google Doc of this planning checklist.

Click the image below to download a PDF of this checklist.


Project/Major Event Checklists

These are checklists that you keep for projects and major events that recur quarterly and/or annually. Events might include your annual fall retreat, a quarterly game night or family night, fall kickoff or spring finale, summer mission trip, etc. Major recurring projects or may include the planning process for launching a new school year, a recurring class with all its coursework requirements and sub-events, a curriculum development process. There are always some things that you do the same every quarter or every year. Why not keep track of them. You’re always learning new ways to improve the event or project. You might as well add them to your checklist.

Click the image below to download a PDF copy of our
current Basecamp Template for NextGen.

Basecamp Template NextGen 20xx-20xx

For these kinds of checklists, we like to use Basecamp. You can read my blogpost called Using Basecamp to Manage Church and Ministry Projects, Event Planning, and Key Processes.

We can’t remember everything. Airline pilots use them. Auditors use them. Home inspectors use them. Professional event planners use them. Wedding coordinators use them. It’s time for you to start using checklists, too.

Kenny Conley over at ChildrensMinistryOnline.com has a great post with 50+ checklists! Check it out!

Author: Jim Murphy

Associate Pastor | NextGen Ministries Covenant Church, Bemidji, MN

3 Replies to “Essential Skills: Managing Checklists

  1. When I click on the image above like you instruct us to do in order to get the checklist PDF’s etc the link must be broken. How can we go about getting the PDF’s and all?

    1. Hey Todd! So sorry! Thanks for the heads up! The links are fixed and even updated. I also added a link to Kenny Conley’s checklists, as well. We could all use a little inspiration for new ideas. Blessings!

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