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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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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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
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
— Debra
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
— Laurie
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)

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