The Ultimate Guide to Annual Church Themes for the New Year

What’s the Point of an Annual Theme

Annual church themes are a great way to direct your church because they give them a focus for the year. They help your congregation know where God wants to take them during the coming year. The year’s theme can play a major role in the effectiveness of a church as it helps focus event planning and media output. 

The Bible says in Proverbs 29 that, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” We believe that is true for a general church vision, but we also believe it for every year. Without a vision for the year, the congregants can easily get disconnected from what God is doing in the short term. Having a yearly theme for your church helps them to look for ways that the theme affects their own lives, and it reshapes how the congregants interact with each other. Creating and communicating the vision is important for pastoring your congregation. 

The annual theme also helps your church’s event planning. As the year progress, it can be easy to get distracted by new, cutting-edge event ideas, but the annual vision helps to guide the congregation to events that are going to complement the overall vision. Church events are important because they build community and feed the congregation spiritually. The annual theme can help to ensure that the events that are on your events calendar are fulfilling the mission. With a new year coming up, there are tons of upcoming events, but those church events should not be whimsical or sparatic. Instead, those events should be thoughtful and purposeful. That is exactly what an annual church theme can do for your planning team. 

How to Measure Success

Rather than having a numerical goal for your church’s year, we recommend creating a theme, then choosing a metric that matches that. For example, if your church’s annual theme is reaching the lost, you should focus on tracking the number of lives that were touched by your church’s generosity. 

It is still a good thing to track the overall growth of your church’s attendance, but it can be helpful to switch the metric. By creating a metric that matches your church’s annual theme, you can communicate the success of your ministry better. Once you get to the end of the year, you can show the congregation the fulfillment of the yearly theme.

How to Communicate These Themes

Having an annual theme is a great idea, but it has to be communicated to the congregation for it to be effective. There are a few ways that we recommend communicating the theme to the church. You should communicate your church’s annual theme from the stage, on your church’s website, and with your team to be effective. 

Preaching on the Theme

When rolling out a theme for your church’s year, we recommend starting the year by preaching on the theme that you’ve selected for the year. You can even do an entire sermon series on the theme that you are focusing on for the year. Doing a series on the theme makes sure that everyone who attends in January will get to hear what the theme is. Your congregation will retain the theme better because you repeated the theme throughout multiple weeks. You should start the year by preaching on the theme your church has been given for the year. 

Placing the Theme on Your Church Website

Your church website is another great place to promote the annual theme. Many people who are considering coming to your church will visit your website first. By placing the annual theme on the About page, the potential congregants can see the focus of your church. It will help people to make a more informed decision about attending your church. Revealing your annual theme to the internet will also help more people feel connected with the overarching vision of your church. We highly recommend using your church website as a billboard for your church’s annual theme. 

Telling the Lead Team about the Annual Theme

Another way to successfully communicate the overall theme is to be clear with your key leaders or staff team about it. The entire congregation might not memorize the annual theme, but the staff should have the vision for the year memorized. The reason communicating the vision of the year with the staff is important is because the staff is the actual people with their hands on the different ministry departments. The staff can communicate the yearly theme with their departments better than the senior pastor might be able to, so we recommend constantly reminding the staff through meetings about the yearly theme. 

With all of that being said, here are some ideas for annual themes for churches: 

Main Congregation Themes

Church Family 

One annual theme that might be good for your church is the idea of a church family. Many people leave the church because they don’t feel connected ( Knowing this as a pastor should inspire you to seek to create a culture of connectivity. 

God is someone who sets the lonely in families according to Psalm 68:6. God’s will is for lonely people to be connected with others, and your church should be a place that fulfills that will. By creating an annual theme of church family you are promoting the Biblical model of community and adoption that God wants. 

Over 70% of people describe their families as dysfunctional according to Forbes (, so there is a need for people to be in a stable family. Because people have dysfunctional families, there is a need for a new type of family. A family-like community is something that your church can bring to the community around you. 

You can implement this theme by preaching on the spirit of adoption and community that God has given people. Many people don’t know how to have healthy friendships, so teaching about friendships is a great need as well. Furthermore, you can create events that cultivate the family feel. Events like family dinners, regular small groups, and community nights are all things that you can do to fulfill your annual theme of church family.

A Key Verse

Another great way to choose an annual theme for your church is to focus on a key verse that you feel called to focus on. Scripture is powerful, and by making scripture the basis for your annual theme, you can send that same message to your congregation. Although this category is pretty general, we recommend choosing a scripture that is empowering to your congregation. 

The idea of having a key verse as the main focus for the year is great for sermons and social media. On a monthly basis, you can use the verse of the year in your sermons, and on social media, you can regularly be posting a reminder of the key verse. Although it might be difficult to preach an entire sermon series on one verse, we recommend that if you are doing a key verse you would at least preach one message specifically about the verse that your congregation is taking on for the year. 

The key verse theme can also be a great way to promote scripture memorization. Only a quarter of college-aged Christians practice scripture memorization regularly (,someone%20to%20do%20it%20with.), so giving your congregation a verse that they can commit to memory encourages the practice of scripture memorization. 

Glorifying God 

The purpose of life is to glorify God, but how can we do that as a church? What does it mean to fulfill your purpose through glorifying God? Most people want to know what their purpose in life is, and by teaching on the topic of glorifying God, you are helping your congregation discover what their God-given purpose is. 

Using this annual theme, you can teach about general ways to glorify God, and you can teach the specifics of glorifying God in your calling. Start by teaching about how obedience glorifies God. Although being obedient is not always fun at the moment, glorifying God is always better in the long run. 

This annual theme is all about creating opportunities for your congregation to participate in serving the community. God is glorified when we loved impoverished people, so you should create an environment where people are given the opportunity to serve others.

The Love of God

At this point, love is a misconstrued topic. People confuse love with behavioral acceptance, and they ask, “If God is really loving, why is life difficult?” Culture views God as angry and unaccepting, but you can help change that stigma in your congregations’ minds. You can take a year and remind your congregation that God is truly pure love. 

To teach on the topic of love, you can create a series where you find stories where God’s love was on full display, and you can teach on those topics. Events like God saving the Israelites, God saving Daniel from the lions, and God helping Gideon liberate the Israelites are all stories that show God’s love for His people, so you can tell those and show that God is loving. 

The Aspects of the Trinity

Most American adults are confused by the topic of the Trinity ( so teaching about it is important. The Trinity is the concept that God exists in three different beings that are simultaneously the same being. Let’s be honest, that can be confusing, so taking a year to prioritize educating your congregation about the Trinity should be important. 

Teaching about the topic of the Trinity is important and so is teaching about the different aspects of the Trinity. We recommend creating a group sermon series about the different aspects of the Trinity. You should have a series on God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. You can even teach that they are 3 different series, but they are all a part of one big series (like the Trinity). 

Most of the time Church is Jesus-focused. Christmas and Easter (the weeks with the biggest attendance) are almost always about Jesus Christ, so you should find some other weeks throughout the year to celebrate the other aspects of the Trinity. Make a big deal about Pentecost, or focus on Easter from God’s perspective. 

God’s Grace

Guilt and shame are common themes in many people’s lives, so they need to be reminded that God is gracious. Taking a year to focus on the grace of God can help your congregation feel more confident in their relationships with Jesus. 

When you teach about this topic, you can create a series on people who were shameful, but God had grace on them. Stories like the woman caught in adultery, Saul turning into Paul, and David and Bathsheba can be a central focus for your year. In those stories, God had grace and compassion for people who lived shameful lives. By focusing on this topic, you can set up your congregation to feel more freedom in their relationships with God. 

Personal Prophetic Theme

The “Personal Prophetic Theme” theme is a catch-all for something that God has put in your spirit to emphasize. Although we believe the themes on this list are great, they can’t compare to a revelation that God has given you for your congregation. God knows your congregation better than we do, so we recommend that you always consult Him before deciding what direction you should take your congregation. 

When it comes to teaching on your personal prophetic theme, we advise that you verify that the thing that you think is in your spirit actually aligns with the scripture. Without scriptural backing, the personal prophetic theme can get misconstrued. 

A way to think about planning events around a personal prophetic theme is to ask the question, “What event will help my congregation understand and achieve the vision of the year?”  Depending on the theme, the events might change, so we also recommend consulting your team to help you come up with some ideas of what fulfilling the annual theme looks like. 

The Power of the Holy Spirit

Depending on the denomination of your local church, the power of the Holy Spirit can be a great annual theme. In the Christian faith, the Holy Spirit is the person that is supposed to be helping Christians to be transformed into new people. He is responsible for revealing the truth to Christians and convicting them when they are wrong, and the Holy Spirit can bring healing and spiritual gifts. All of these things are important so spending a year focusing on the power of the Holy Spirit can be a great opportunity to train and equip your congregation to interact with the Holy Spirit. 

In all of your messages during the year, you could mention how the Holy Spirit helps people to put into action the things that were taught in the message. You could even start off the year by giving a series on the Holy Spirit. Many modern Christians are fearful of the Holy Spirit, so showing Christians that the Holy Spirit is not someone to be afraid of can drastically improve a person’s spiritual health. 

During the year, you could create events that are Holy Spirit-focused. Events like designated prayer nights or evenings of worship are a great way to get your congregation to interact with the Holy Spirit, 

Youth Themes

Spiritual Growth

Another annual theme you could choose is the theme of spiritual growth. Clearly, you will be pursuing spiritual growth every year, but taking a year to focus on specifically growing in intimacy with God can be a great thing. Sometimes people get in spiritual ruts. They struggle to connect with God for a period of time, so the annual theme of spiritual growth can combat that. 

Within the annual theme of spiritual growth, you should teach what it means to grow closer to God and share practical tips for the times when people feel spiritually stuck. The topic of spiritual growth might take a full sermon series to cover. 

Some events that you can do during this annual theme are worship and prayer nights as well as emphasizing growth through small groups. Small groups are a great way to push people forward in their spiritual growth, so you should pair the spiritual growth annual theme with an emphasis on relational growth with other believers. 

The Great Harvest 

Jesus taught that there is a harvest of people who need a relationship with God, so you can take a year to talk about that great harvest. Students should know how to express their faith in a loving way. Discipling students towards living a life of ministry are truly rewarding because you get to teach them how they can impact their community. It is a cliche at this point to tell students that they can be world changers, but you should still teach them how they can be influential in their environments for God.

The annual focus of the great harvest can be something taught from the platform, but it should also be communicated in a personal discipleship context. Meeting with students and talking with them about how they can impact their schools is the most effective way to push this annual theme. 

In this annual theme, your events should be outreach focused. Whether you are serving the inner city or serving at the local school, you can model what it looks like to pursue the great harvest that God has called your students to. 

The Good News

Another annual youth theme could be the Good News. I’ve noticed in my own ministry that most middle school students don’t know how to articulate what “the good news” is, so taking a year to drive home the message of the Gospel would be huge for your student’s spiritual growth. 

Unlike the previous theme, this theme should constantly be taught from the stage during your youth services, so constantly be repeating what the Gospel is. Your students need to hear the message multiple times to truly grasp it. You should rely on Scripture and object lessons to communicate what the Gospel is to your students.  

Biblical Self-Identity

Students are constantly looking for ways to identify themselves because they are just growing up. They reach for friends, relationships, grades, sports, and other things to help them understand who they are. Although those things can be good, as Christians we believe that the only thing that can give us our identity is our Creator, so you should train and teach your students to understand what God says about them. 

Teaching identity is an important thing, and you can do it through a full series on the identities that God has given us in the Bible. Furthermore, you should focus on your verbiage when you talk to and about students. Focus on always being encouraging to the students that you are leading, and the truth about what the Bible says will come out through you. 


As we discussed earlier, there is truly no substitute for a personal revelation from God when it comes to your church’s annual theme, but we hope that these ideas spoke to your spirit. You are welcome to share these themes and even use them for your own ministries. 

Furthermore, if you are interested in more ministry-related articles click HERE!

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