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3 Common Ministry Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Preparing for church services is hard work. It takes a lot of prayer, planning, and teamwork to consistently construct services that encourage others and glorify God.

That said, sometimes we make it harder than it has to be. Here are three mistakes to avoid when planning your services—and how Proclaim can help you with each one. (And you can learn at the bottom of this post why now is the time to try Proclaim.)

1. Work alone.

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The same is true about teamwork in the church. You may be able to design the bulletin or set up the stage faster than anyone else, but have you thought about the corollary to that? You are minimizing what you could accomplish if you were to spread the work around.

What are those aspects of preparing for Sunday morning where you are needlessly working alone? Comment below to share ideas for how to collaborate more effectively. What have you found that works well? What doesn’t? There is no end to exploring what it means to be a body of believers working together to achieve one purpose. 

Proclaim was built for church collaboration. It comes with unlimited installs on Mac and PC and syncs everyone’s work automatically. That means that all at once, the church administrator could be building announcement slides, the worship leader lyric slides, and the pastor sermon slides. It saves you from passing files around, and everyone can chip in easily to build a great presentation. Check out the video below to learn more. 

2. Start from scratch.

Part of being a good steward, whether of time or money, is following the cost-benefit principle. Is your investment (cost) worth the outcome (benefit)? It may sound a bit calculated, and you can’t always measure it objectively, but generally it’s a great paradigm for decision-making. 

Here’s a question that can help you apply it in your service planning: Has someone already made what I need, and is it worth using rather than building myself? This could include curriculum, a website, or even slide backgrounds.

For example, Proclaim comes pre-loaded with hundreds of designs made just for churches by a team of professional designers, plus options for thousands more. This saves you scouring the internet for stock images and graphics, as well as spending time meticulously designing just one slide. You can also check out, which has thousands of beautiful photos you can use for free for any purpose. 

3. Take the long way.

Have you ever undertaken a simple task that ends up taking well over an hour? It’s frustrating. If someone were to look at your workday hour by hour, would you be embarrassed by your level of busywork? 

One key to efficiency is targeting tasks you do daily or weekly, and then learning to do them quicker. If you work at a church, this could include preparing Bible lessons, sending announcements, or even designing presentations. Between changing font sizes and colors, aligning text, or adjusting color schemes, it can literally take hours just to put together a handful of slides. And that’s just for one week. Multiply that by 52 weeks over however many years, and you’re talking about hundreds or even thousands of hours designing presentations.

One way Proclaim helps you streamline this is by doing the formatting for you. You simply type in what you want a slide to say, and Proclaim plugs it into pre-designed slides so it looks great right away. Plus, it remembers all the slides you’ve ever built, the templates you most recently used, and all the songs you’ve ever sung—including the verse order—so you can easily reuse past work. You can even link your CCLI subscription with Proclaim to avoid ever having to type a lyric again.

What are some ways you’ve streamlined weekly ministry tasks without sacrificing quality? 

A lot of work goes into planning services—and rightfully so. But avoid these mistakes and you can make sure you’re using your energy well, rather than wasting it.

You can always turn to Proclaim for help avoiding these mistakes, too.
Haven’t tried Proclaim? Start a free trial today

Written by
Matthew Boffey

Matthew Boffey (MDiv, Trinity International University) is the pastor of worship at Christ Church Bellingham. He is also editor-in-chief of Ministry Team magazine, has edited several books, and has written for several blogs and publications, including Relevant online, the Logos blog, and the Faithlife blog.

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Written by Matthew Boffey