“Okay,” you say to yourself, “something with that many syllables in it better be good.” Well, give me a few minutes of your time and a chance to convince you! I must admit that “Preventative Maintenance Calendar” does not immediately stir the imagination, nor does it quickly inspire teenagers to new heights of faith and service. BUT if you put a Preventative Maintenance Calendar (PMC) to work in your ministry, you will find that you have squared a lot of wonky corners and smoothed a lot of rough jagged edges.

These Days We Live By the Calendar

Our lives (and work) are full of calendars – family calendars, school calendars, special event calendars, staff calendars, shared calendars, holiday calendars, ad infinitum. There are companies who specialize in calendars, apps that help to manage calendars, and free calendars from fund-raisers. With all of these calendars in our lives, why would we want another one? You want this one, a Preventative Maintenance Calendar, because it will make your life easier!

Face it – in youth ministry we often get focused on special events. And special events can command a lot of our time. They often have lots of energy and demand a lot of energy. Young people get excited about them, many times only living for the next trip and new people to meet. So WE get wrapped up in special events too, and before we know it, we’ve forgotten to submit that curriculum order or we’ve failed to get our recruiting for next year underway or we’ve missed setting participation goals for the next year or… well, you get it. We’ve all been there.

So What Does a Preventative Maintenance Calendar Do?

A Preventative Maintenance Calendar is where you keep track of all those very important but less flashy things that are a part of youth ministry, all of those more tedious, boring tasks that need to be done to grease the wheels of… Share on X

Let me give you a personal example. A “Note” that I keep on my phone is my “House & Yard Calendar.” In that calendar I keep all of those reminders of things that I need to do every year, all of those boring maintenance things that would be easy to skip over but pay real dividends if I make sure that I check them off one by one.

If I do that, I get those deep blue hydrangea blooms that my wife loves, thick green grass in the spring, plenty of firewood for those cold winter nights, and an air handling system that is less likely to break down.

Back in the days when I kept a paper calendar, I used to receive an annual denominational program calendar. It worked well for me – all the important dates of the Christian year were there, preaching texts of the common lectionary were on each Sunday, as well as space to write in all of the events and meetings, etc. But after awhile I began to notice notes up at the top of the page for each month, valuable notes that would guide me to work ahead on things that come around every year, things like preparations for a stewardship campaign, a reminder to start Sunday school teacher recruiting, and a nudge to schedule special offerings. They were helpful reminders to get it in gear, and they were an introduction to better advance planning, especially for the more mundane, routine annual tasks of ministry.

So Take Out Your Calendar and Add In the Maintenance

Pull out your calendar and jot down some important reminders. There will be some monthly routine things, maybe some quarterly things, and of course some annual things. Here are a few things that might fit onto your list:


  • Monthly communication pieces are sent to parents, volunteers, or youth about what’s coming up in events, curriculum, or groups.
  • Get major event notebooks to upcoming coordinators.
  • Assess what young people are on the fringe of activity, maybe needing a phone call.
  • Review the financial picture, assuring that the ministry is being accountable to its budget.


  • Check that proper curriculum (digital or print) is on hand for the next three months.
  • Do a quarterly check-in with parents for input, discussion, and feedback.
  • The 18-month ministry calendar gets advanced by three months.


  • Do an assessment of how well your ministry is accountable to its mission, values, and goals, restating benchmarks for the coming year.
  • Submit your budget request on time.
  • Evaluate the staffing for your ministry, both paid and volunteer, with an eye toward the future.
  • Evaluate the suitability of facilities. Do they really “facilitate” the work of the ministry?
  • Recruiting of volunteers for the coming program year is completed three months before it starts.
  • Current year volunteers receive a sound “thank you.” And next year’s volunteers receive excellent training.
  • The database of youth, parents, and adult leaders gets an update.
  • Plans are made for a great program year kickoff.

If you want a sample, go to https://ministryarchitects.com/free-tools-and-resources-category/ where you will find an array of helpful resources to assist you in your ministry.

Conclusion – You Can’t Eat the Apples If You Don’t Plant the Tree

A Preventative Maintenance Calendar is where you keep track of all those very important but less flashy things that are a part of youth ministry, all of those more tedious, boring tasks that need to be done to grease the wheels of… Share on X

If you want to explore more about this kind of ministry maintenance (or home garden maintenance – ha), email me at david.carroll@ministryarchitects.com. I’d love to spend some time talking with you about planting trees and eating apples!

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