It seems like it was yesterday. The school year came to an end. Minivans across the country were filled with families packed on road trips for vacations. As the dusk of summer sets in and we begin get back into gear, here are 3 opportunities we will have as we prepare to engage our youth for another year of Ministry.
Opportunity to invite and welcome | More than any other time in our church’s history, young people are being targeted, for their attention, time, and money. Almost every major industry, from sneaker to tech companies; from movies to concerts, want our teens to spend their full energy on their products. Look at how social media ads target our searches (maybe that is why I always get ads for discounted pizza).
We need to compete with these distracting voices. This means we must learn how to invite young people and to invite them well. Does this mean mass mailings? Social Media blitz? Texts? This all depends on your community and their needs. The point is, don’t let this opportunity slip away. Make a splash with inviting young people. Make sure to be intentional with your outreach. Are your digital or printed materials quality? Can you work with a volunteer parent or teens who are good at graphic design? Tap into the resources around you. You will be able to capture the attention of teens better.
Opportunity to reinvent our ministry | Last year was last year. We may have had a ton of successful retreats, lock-ins, or amazing teen worship leaders. Perhaps we had a hard time gaining traction within the community and the parish leadership is questioning how youth ministry is going to survive there. None of that matters. Hopefully you met with your team at some point over the summer (if not, try and do so ASAP) so that you can evaluate the ministry and how it can be reinvented. This is a new year, with some returning teens, but also newcomers (hopefully). Build on the success that you had and look to retool the events/programs that fell short of expectations.
Opportunity to empower our team | Any good minister (Jesus included) knows that going into the ministry trenches alone isn’t be best idea. We see time and time again how, when we choose to minister without a team, frustration and burnout is inevitable. So, let us not only kick off the year for the teens, but also for our team. What fellowship opportunities are there for them? How about trainings, can you facilitate a training to help them be better team members? Talk to your pastor or Diocesan Director/Coordinator of youth ministry. This will excite your team and their excitement will permeate to those teens that are being ministered to.
More than any time in our ministry, this time of year can set the tone for the kind of year we will have. Do we want our teens to walk into a vibrant ministry ready to tackle the new pastoral year? I think we all do. So let us take the necessary steps to bring them into this exciting new year of youth ministry.