Where did the summer go? For some, summer is already history and the teens are back in school. For others, the final weeks of summer are here and the new school year is just around the corner. But for all of us, it is time to ask yourself key questions to make sure that both you and your ministry are prepared for the fall. Are you ready? What do you need to get your ministry equipped?
Fall is the unofficial start of the ministry year. There are new teens to meet, graduating teens to say goodbye to and a list of exciting plans for the future of your programs. Even though some programs never take a break from youth ministry, fall is the time for “Kick Off” events and a new beginning. Below are some suggestions to help you get ready for an awesome year.
- End in Mind: Always be preparing (even at the beginning of the year) with the end in mind. Ask yourself what do you want accomplished? What are your goals? Every parish may have different answers, but we all will have one similarity: leading teens closer to Christ.
- Master Calendar: Your Life Nights, special events, service projects, retreats and trips should be included on this. It is important that you don’t just pick stuff so you have it, but rather build upon each gathering. A few extra hours of planning now will reap huge benefits during the year.
- Reel in New Volunteers: If you haven’t been spending your summer hitting up potential new Core Members, start now! It is a great time and a smooth transition for volunteers to start. It is also an ideal time to plan a training session with new recruits.
- Fire Up Returning Teens: Summer is tough because so many teens are out of touch. They are busy with athletics, family vacation, SAT class and everything else. Remind your teens that you want them back! Stay in contact with them and build that excitement so they come back.
- Invite New Teens: Every year you have new teens. Create a plan to integrate the “new kids.” Send a postcard, email, Facebook update. Let them know that you want to meet them. Also, this is a great time to get in touch with those teens who you have not seen in awhile. Let them know you want them to come back.
- Prayer: Don’t forget to pray! It is easy to be busy with “stuff” of youth ministry, but we need to remember the real effectiveness of our ministry to young people is based on prayer. As youth ministers we must be people of prayer first, not just for our ministries, but also for our spiritual well being.
The school year is not too far away (or maybe is already here). Consider this a friendly reminder to take the plunge, and dive in!