It’s (almost nearly) Christmas!
I know that means a lot of your ministries are going nuts. There are parties galore and lots of desserts being passed around. But January 1 is coming.
Do you know what next year holds for you and your youth group?
If you’re not yet planned out for the next year, consider taking some time off this month to plan. I don’t mean take a vacation day to plan your youth ministry. I mean, take a day off of what you would normally do and use it to schedule out what next year is going to look like.
Go find a coffee shop or fast food place nearby, put in your headphones, and really focus down on getting the next year planned out. Bring along your team if you’ve got one.
If this isn’t a part of your normal routine, consider adding it in this year. This is what it could look like.
Grab Every Calendar You Can
Take advantage of all the calendars that are available to you. Your church calendar with the men’s retreat and the women’s overnight trip. The local school calendars should be out too, so you can plan around spring break, fall break, when school starts and when it finishes.
If you plan with these calendars in mind, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache knowing that your weekend trip isn’t the same as homecoming.
Tent Pole Events
You know what these are already. You may even have them on your calendar. Summer camp. Your big Disciple Now in-town retreat. A big conference in the spring.
These are the events that your youth group always does and ones that, frankly, take up a lot of time on your calendar. Plan these out first so you know NOT to plan a massive all-night lock-in in three weeks before you go on a week mission trip. When you start with your big events, you can plan margin in intentionally.
These are the things that might not take up as much time but are still good to have on the calendar. Maybe you have a big kick-off night for your small group Bible studies. Or maybe you always take a group to go play minigolf on the day after school gets out. Place these on the calendar for your sake and so that you can let parents know as far in advance if something is coming.
Now that you know your big and little events, you can plan out your teaching calendar to help supplement what you already have on the calendar. Maybe you know your theme for summer camp, so you can teach with it in mind the month before and help break it down the month afterward. February is probably a good month to do a relationship series, and Christmas will usually be Christmas.
Then you can take a good look at what your teaching calendar has on it and what it’s missing. That way you’re not trying to figure out what to teach next week, because you’ve already got it planned. Or, you could use Co-leader’s Roadmap to help you!
Since you’ve got fantastic leaders helping you along the way, why not go ahead and plan times for you to get together with them and train them? You can make these happen right before a youth group meeting or right after church on Sunday. As long as you include lunch of course! DYM is getting ready for it’s National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry Training this year. AND, big news, you can have it on whatever day works for you! Check it out here and put it on the calendar now.
Sprinkle these in. I usually had three a year: one in the fall, one in January, and one right before summer. That way parents are always a step ahead and know important dates. I would also pitch resources and whatever big student ministry news I had at the moment. If you have these consistently, you’ll develop clout with parents and help them stay on top of youth group!
There are a lot of things you can plan out ahead of time: social media, emails, when volunteers are going to teach for you, your vacation, and a whole lot more. The more you have a plan, the less you’ll have to stress out at the last minute. Save yourself some pressure and take some time to plan now!
Struggle to plan? Check out these great resources from DYM!