Project management is a term we don't use much in ministry. It sounds very corporate-y, so it tends to be tossed aside. However, I know from personal experience that planning ahead and managing a project well can reduce the burden on church staff while enabling you to pull off great events and launch new programs.

Projects such as establishing a new campus, hosting a conference or starting a new outreach are in addition to your team's day-to-day responsibilities and can stretch them to their limit. Here are several reasons why you should consider implementing project management concepts at your church:

1. Reduced rework

I call this "doing the work on paper before you do it in real life." When you plan ahead, you get to think it through and make your mistakes on paper instead of in the heat of the moment when a deadline is looming.

2. Increased excellence

It's hard to go the extra mile when you're already worn out. Planning ahead and carefully managing the plan gives you margin. You can use that margin to do the extra things that take your efforts to the next level.

3. Increased ability to deliver on time and within budget

When it's down to the wire and it just has to get done, you're more likely to feel justified in spending extra money to finish. However, if you carefully plan the timeline and budget, you're much less likely to have last-minute emergencies.

4. Greater freedom for creativity

Now, planning doesn't sound like it would allow for creativity, but hear me out. When you purposefully leave some margin in your timeline, you can create room for brainstorming sessions and a few iterations of creative concepts. You can't let your creative team members tweak the graphics or décor forever, but you should give them enough time to really come up with their best work.

5. Decreased stress and last-minute scrambling

You've seen (and experienced) it, too. The week before a big deadline is fraught with last-minute changes and late nights. Communication is spotty at best, and you're all just ready for it to be over. It doesn't have to be that way. Planning ahead and then working the plan prevents this last-minute craziness.

6. Stronger buy-in from the team

Your team needs to understand the "why" behind this new program or event. Part of the planning process is defining what success looks like and communicating that to the team. That unifies the group, enables them to communicate more effectively and to make better decisions.

7. Well-informed volunteers will feel appreciated and excited to serve

A lack of planning leads to sending out a desperate plea for volunteers a few days before the event. These volunteers who set aside their schedules to help likely receive little communication or training. In that scenario, your volunteers are frustrated and annoyed. They're serving because they believe in the ministry of your church — so much that they'll put up with the mess this time. However, don't count on that continuing for long if you repeat this process often.

8. Improved communication

Invest the time upfront to plan how and when you'll communicate this event. You'll want to consider service announcements, social media posts, billboards, website updates and registration, emails, signage around the church, etc. When you coordinate this communication your congregation and the community will understand what you're doing, why and how to get involved.

A few simple project management concepts implemented gradually can make huge difference in the workload and outcome of special projects. It's worth the effort to add a bit of project management to your team.