Fall is an exciting time for churches. People come back from summer vacation, kids get ready for school, and everyone starts returning to a normal schedule. Like most churches, you're probably planning a back-to-school event or some other fall kickoff program to welcome everyone back to church. From there, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.

Before your schedule becomes more jam-packed than usual, this might be a good time to handle a few "housekeeping" chores. These are administrative areas to review, update or change in-time for fall and year-end activities.

1. Scrub the data

Whether you have a robust church management system (ChMS) or a few spreadsheets that do the trick, you’ll need to make sure the data is up-to-date.

  • Do you have people in the database who have moved or otherwise no longer attend the church?
  • Have individuals married, and do you have their new families connected within the database?
  • Are your lists of who is on each volunteer team accurate?
  • Do you need to update mailing addresses for year-end tax receipts?

A clean and updated database will make inviting people to events, recruiting volunteers and sending tax receipts easier when the time comes.

2. Conduct an insurance coverage checkup

Contact your church's liability insurance agent and discuss any changes over the last year.

  • Have you remodeled, added to or otherwise made changes to church property?
  • Do you have any events coming up that may require special event liability insurance?
  • Has the insurance company changed how they manage claims or any aspect of your current policy?

Make sure your church is covered and that you know what you're getting for the price.

3. Review the calendar

Hopefully you have a churchwide calendar that covers through year-end. If not, that's definitely something to consider doing ASAP. If you do have a calendar with services and events already scheduled, now is a good time to consider what's coming up in the next few months.

  • Are all upcoming events and services listed on the calendar (this may require you going to each department leader to confirm)?
  • Do you know if there's an event planner or point person assigned to each event? If not, is that something you can help resolve?
  • Have you met with the planner for each event to address event registration fee collection, purchase request deadlines and other financial needs?

The to-do list for events and regular services can build up quickly, so it's wise to look ahead to determine how best to handle the upcoming workload.

By preparing now for the fall season (and the holidays), you'll be better equipped to deal with the increase in activity. As you get ready, don't forget to pause and enjoy seeing people coming back to church and growing in their faith.