7 Reasons Your Church Should Create an Annual Report

You’ve heard of annual reports, but have you thought of creating one for your church? The point of course is not to imitate a common corporate practice, but to leverage every opportunity to cast vision. As we scan a few reasons why you should do this, let’s start with a definition.

Wiki: An annual report is a comprehensive report on a company’s activities throughout the preceding year. Annual reports are intended to give shareholders and other interested people information about the company’s activities and financial performance. The details provided in the report are of use to investors to understand the company’s financial position and future direction.

Why you should leverage this communication tool:

#1 An annual report creates a great “excuse” to cast vision. Most people know what an annual report is, but don’t expect their church to provide one. Why not leverage the “placeholder in their mind” to make  a positive impact?

#2 An annual report utilizes a natural rhythm for reflection and refocus. Remember, God created the cycle of a year. Since you use the year to define everything else in your life, why not use it to nourish the vision for people in the church?

#3 An annual report is a great tool to retell your best stories. Hopefully you’ve been sharing stories of life change throughout the year. Now tell them again. As a leader, it’s important to know your “folklore-” the stories of God that are worth sharing over and over and over.

#4 An annual report is an act of gratitude toward God. What if you saw the process like writing a thank you note to God? Even if your church didn’t have the best year, you have something for which you can express gratitude to God. Use the report to honor God and point people to Jesus.

#5 An annual report is a helpful accountability mechanism. I get that fact that accountability is not always fun. Sometimes you don’t like prepping sermons. But this Sunday keeps you accountable. Chances are, no one is going to wake up and bug you for that 2015 annual report. That’s what makes this point a big deal. You can initiate the commitment and hold yourself and your team accountable to this kind of vision casting.

#6 An annual report builds credibility with people. While an annual report is not everyone’s “love language,” some people will take a giant step forward because you took the time to provide this tool. It shows the leadership’s  willingness to be honest with financial information and communicates the deeper “whys” behind ministry decisions and direction.

#7 An annual report is a perfect project to experiment with some new talent and creativity. Since this communication tool is not weekly or urgent, you can recruit some people who are new or uninvolved and see what they produce. If you haven’t done a report, you have nothing to loose by trying. Ask them for something fresh and different. Here are a few examples of reports to get the creative minds sparked.

> Read more from Will.


Would you like to learn more about the process of creating annual reports for your church? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Don Mann — 02/01/16 3:07 pm

We plan to publish the online report during November to strengthen the case for strong end of year giving. http://annualreport.calvarynow.com/

7 Ways to Have “The Talk” Sooner, Rather Than Later | Launch Clarity — 05/19/14 6:04 am

[…] the impact… Many churches have created year-end reports that show graphically and numerically exactly where giving goes. A picture is worth a thousand […]

Bob Wriedt — 01/03/14 1:36 pm

We did a report for the first time this year, and we based it on our five values we identified through the Church Unique process. http://www.gracesealbeach.org/#/resources-and-sermons/grace-report-2013

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

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