(A quick note from our Blog Editor: I know, I know. WHY on EARTH am I sharing this blog about planning for FALL? We are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and have no idea when or how our ministry will start meeting in person again, much less what the new school year will hold! But hear me out friends: This too shall pass. And when it does, it would be helpful to already have a clear vision and goals for returning to “normal” ministry again. So often we get swept up in the busyness and chaos of youth ministry. We are constantly running and executing youth nights, events, Confirmation, the list goes on and on! Now that all of that has been wiped off the table, take some of this precious time to plan an EPIC comeback for your ministry.)
Creating a calendar for your youth ministry can be extremely exciting, and overwhelming at the same time. There is so much to do and so little time, what can we do to ensure we are making a difference with our calendars? Here are some helpful tips that have helped guide us in our process.
This may be obvious to some, but let’s be honest…..there is a reason why youth leaders have the reputation of being procrastinators. We work well on the fly. We can adapt and we pride ourselves on our flexibility. In some circumstances that may work, but if we are going to maximize the impact our ministries have on young people and their families we must get into the habit of working ahead. 3 months is a great start. 6 months is even better.
Once again I may be preaching to the choir right now, but in my own experience it’s easy to jump in, plan, strategize and create and before I know it I realize I haven’t even prayed yet. Youth leaders are creative. Entrepreneurial. In charge of the Party Planning committee. Communicators. Self Sufficient Jack of all trades. Never forget the most important thing you can do when you start to plan a calendar is to stop….pray…..and ask the Lord what He wants to do in and through You, your leaders and your ministry.
Ask the Right ?’s
I recently heard that “Great Leaders ASK Great Questions.” When we ask great questions we don’t settle for the status quo. We dream bigger. We take more risks. We are more wise. We don’t jump at the coolest idea or trend. Asking great questions center us and help us focus on what’s most important. For us, when we plan we like to ask these 4 questions…..
What do our students need?
What do our families need?
What do we hope our ministry looks like a year from now?
What in us, or our ministry needs to die?
These questions help us focus on needs, vision of where we are going and pruning which is something we all must be willing to do if we want to grow
Get Stakeholders Feedback
We have a core planning team that makes final decisions, but before we do anything we want feedback from our stakeholders. Our Parent Support Team. Our Student Leadership Team. Our Adult Volunteer team. Before we start planning for the next season of ministry we get their feedback and ideas before we put anything on. The best ideas usually come from our students and it gives them ownership. Parents give amazing insight and perspective as we plan. Our Adult leaders help us see things we might miss. We are better together so make sure you are planning events that people actually want to attend.
Be Strategic AND Trim the Fat
Once you have done all the necessary prep, it’s time to start putting events on the calendar. At this point you may have a long list of ideas from feedback and brainstorming. The reality is you can’t do it all, so layout a plan that will be strategic in helping you go after your vision. What are you trying to accomplish? How will this event help with doing that? Do these events flow well together? Are we asking too much of our leaders? Will my calendar break the bank for families? Fill you calendar and before you finalize it trim some fat. Make your calendar slim, yet effective. Full, but not overwhelming.