church project management

Church Project Management: What Should You Treat as a Project?


When it comes to project management and the church, you might wonder what your church should treat as a project. Are weekly services a project? Is facility maintenance a project? What efforts should be put into a standard project management process versus handled as an ongoing task? Thankfully, once we settle on a common definition of a project it’s not hard to determine what to treat as a project at your church.

In this post, I shared the definition of a project from the Project Management Institute as “temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.”

With that definition in mind, here are several examples of what you may want to treat as a project at your church:

#1 – Events, Special Services, & Outreaches

Every church hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Vacation Bible School, Easter Egg Hunts, Christmas concerts, a church anniversary celebration, community outreaches, and other events certainly fit the project definition mentioned above.

#2 – New Ministry or Program Launches

If your church leadership decides to launch a small group ministry, you’ll have a significant number of tasks to complete before the big kickoff service. From recruiting and training small group leaders, to providing an online method for people to sign up and more, you’ll need a project team to make this a successful launch. The same concept applies to starting an addiction recovery ministry, establishing a disaster response team, and other new programs at the church.

#3 – Facility Updates

Remodeling the church sanctuary, installing new audio/visual/lighting equipment, expanding the nursery, or repainting the parking lot lines are all examples of church facility projects. Of course, a new building or renovation effort would qualify as a project as well. For these efforts, you’ll likely need to engage outside vendors to help with architectural drawings, city permits, and other specialized trades.

#4 – Moving

Whether it involves church staff members changing offices or the church moving into a new building, there are many logistics involved in a move. Setting up office furniture and equipment, stocking office supplies and restrooms, coordinating who moves when, and more are all aspects of that project to manage effectively.

#5 – Software Migration and Implementation

If your church decides to change accounting software or selects a new church management system, you’ll need to identify and track all the tasks required to make that a seamless transition. For these types of projects, you’ll likely need to get the software vendor involved to make sure the process runs smoothly.

#6 – Website Redesign

Church websites periodically need a detailed review and update. Managing this as a project will involve considering various factors such as the church logo, font and color selection, integration with online giving options, updating the content for each page, and many other details. Even for a fairly simple website, this project could become quite extensive. Assigning someone to be the project manager and oversee all the tasks involved can help your team complete the effort in a timely manner.

#7 – Capital Campaign

A church leadership team considering a capital campaign to raise funds for a new building or an extensive renovation should treat that effort as a project. Creating a project charter to define the goals of the project can help the team focus on what’s most important for this initiative.

#8 – Succession Planning

Even if we expect and hope that someone will stay in their current role for many years to come, it’s always wise to have a succession plan in place. You could treat this as a project for each role, and include steps such as documenting tasks, identifying skill sets required to be successful in that job, and considering who on staff has the potential to move into that role in the future. This project is a matter of stewarding the future of the church by ensuring there’s a plan ready to fill any role in a timely manner when needed.

#9 – Weekly Services

Now, this one might be a bit of a stretch to treat as a project since it’s an ongoing effort. However, each service does have a defined start and finish (well, depending on how long your pastor preaches that week…). You could treat weekly services as a project with the following task categories:

  • Worship set
  • Pre-service announcements
  • Bulletin design, printing, and distribution
  • Volunteer coordination
  • Children’s ministry programming
  • Special service elements, such as communion and baptisms
  • Sermon preparation
  • Sermon notes to display on screens
  • Sermon graphics and online notes
  • Service live streaming

Your church can leverage a standard project management process to coordinate these efforts more efficiently, saving the church time and making the best use of its resources.

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