Are you ready?
Are you ready for the fall rush? September is a crazy month. It’s one of the few months out of the year, that my wife knows I won’t be around a lot. If you prepare for it, plan it, and embrace the change, September can be one of the most fruitful seasons in ministry. I always see the largest growth in my groups in the fall. The question to ask is: are those students going to stick? Are they going to stay for the whole year?
For my ministry, there are a few crucial things that need to happen before we launch in the fall. Here they are.
1. Plan The Calendar. This seems pretty obvious, but each year we publish a fall calendar, and post it the youth ministry wall at Church. It’s a great overview of where you are headed. If you have done this before, you are probably a pro! If you have no idea how to develop your own calendar, you can head over to the store and download one for less than a Starbucks coffee.
Handing out a calendar is a simple way to show that you have a plan. Once that calendar goes live, you need to stick to it. Last year, we switched a few events, and it wasn’t good. Double check all those events, and info and stick to it.
2. Plan The Sermon Series. I am not too sure what you use for curriculum or sermon material? I will sometimes download a sermon series from download youth ministry, and modify it for my group. In the past few years, I have been writing my own series. I love being able to preach from my heart each week to the students in my own context. The students you work with need to see you really wrestle with the text each week.
I use a material that we developed called: The printable youth pastor. There are resources for sermon series, calendar planning and more.
This is one way that I can get my sermons ready for the whole year. I like to do a lot of the heavy work during he summer to prep all my messages to be ready to go in the fall.
3. Plan The Games. Last year we tried something new. We didn’t do a repeat game…well for jr.high we did. Those jr.high kids just want to play the same game all year! There are tons of resources out there for games. This year we are taking each night, and planning all the game elements out. I don’t like rushing to make a game happen during the night.
At the least, you can build a roster of games and a storage of all the things needed for these epic games you plan on playing. Planing and preparing for games is the thing I hate most about youth ministry. I would rather do anything else that plan for a game. If there is a plan, I know what to get for the game, how it’s going to run, and how much energy it’s going to take.
4. Prep The Leaders. I love the people I am able to serve alongside. They are awesome at what they do, but each year they need a few nudges. They need some help. I am developing a few resources that my leaders will use this coming year to help lead their small group more effectively, and connect in a more authentic way with students.
What resources do you want them to know? What blog posts should they read? What books? Do the know the gospel? Can they lead a student to Christ? Are they excited for the fall?
Prepping leaders is a huge time investment, and will pay off when the fall comes around.
5. Launch with extras. What is one wow factor that you could pull off this fall? Is it spending more money on an event? Is it giving away something cool like beats? Each fall, I want to launch with a few weeks of events on a regular night to boost the year. It’s a simple way to get student and leaders excited on what’s going on. This year we are investing some money into new banners for our space, lights, and a popcorn machine. We do share the main sanctuary, so we work hard at making it our own. It’s all the simple things.
It’s amazing that all this planning takes place for a ministry year that seems to be over in a minute. Before we know it, it will be Christmas. Those are a few ways that you can be ready for the fall. I hope that helps you stay on mission this year.