I’ve done Fall planning in youth ministry for more than 20 years. Summer is over and I even managed to sneak in a few days of “staycation” – it’s time for Target “back to school” sales and Old Navy’s endless ads. I’m excited about what God did at summer camp and watched students grow, and I’m now asking God’s Spirit to guide me as I set the course for the Fall.
There’s a lot to process heading into this season—and a lot of opportunities and obstacles to be aware of. Here’s what I feel like learned over the years about heading into Fall:
Back to school means back to Jesus
Many students take off in the summer months or their schedule is just so random with vacations, sports camps and beach days that they can’t always be counted on to be a part of our youth ministry. My own kids experienced summer school, a first job and intense sports camps the past few months making for a crazy, always-running house. But going back to school is the grounding force that brings everyone back and the more formal schedule allows church to be dropped into the mix and a priority once again.
Momentum for the whole year starts in the fall
Momentum is a fickle thing, so the start of the school year with a big Fall Kickoff or Back to School bash feels like a good chance to rally students together and encourage them to make the right friends and participate in the right community. So I carry over any momentum from summer (a great camp, baptisms, etc.) and go right into a big Kickoff event and felt-need series to get everyone back in the groove. I want to launch small groups or mentoring around this time to keep the momentum rolling through Christmas to get to the New Year.
Familiar themes work great in the fall
I like to focus on some familiar themes in the Fall. They’re timeless… Honestly, I can get tired of teaching the same things every year, but they are too important to pass up – so I find a way to “reskin” these themes every year: purpose/identity, relationships and spiritual growth.
So having done this more than 20 times, I thought it might be fun to show you a plan for what the fall could look like, and wrap it up in one sweet bundle if you want to a) get a great deal and b) let me do the planning for you.
- Weirdo (1-wk series)
- T-shirt Frenzy (Sidekick file)
- Locked Up for What (Game)
FIRST SERIES OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
- Swipe Right (a completely revamped version of Facebook Official: a 5-wk series from me and Doug Fields)
Pair it with these games with an easy connection to a biblical truth from a purity/relationships series.
- Maybe Baby Game
- Ice Cream or Nail Polish
- Who’s the Baby Daddy?
- Birds Bees and Other Animals
SPIRITUAL GROWTH SERIES
- Charged (2-wk series)
- Week 1 game FAIL GUESS 2 (Sometimes we start a spiritual habit and fail. Enjoy some other failures!)
- Fun countdown video Simon Says False Facts (The Bible is always true, when things all around us aren’t!)
A FEW ADDITIONAL TOOLS:
- Instagram Story Icons (to help take your social media to a new level for Fall)
- Parent Texts (Helping bridge the connection between your ministry and parents)
All of these resources have been written and created by youth pastors and trench-tested. That’s what DYM is all about! This is a great deal–$97 worth of resources for just $50–BUT if you become a yearly DYM Gold Member, you’ll get this bundle for FREE. We already call the Gold Membership ‘The Greatest Deal in the History of Youth Ministry’: (a new game, video, student leadership lesson, and mystery item on the first of the month every month, PLUS monthly store credit and DAILY discounts) but adding an additional $97 of free resources? That’s just too good to pass up! Click here to find out more about becoming a Gold Member.
Praying for an incredible fall!
20+ years youth pastor
Co-founder, Download Youth Ministry
P.S. – ADDED BONUS: Fall is also THE key time to train your volunteers, so I’m tossing in a $25 off code to unlimited, on-demand video training courses for you and your team on Download Youth Ministry University. It’ll revolutionize the way you train your leaders! https://www.dymuniversity.com/ (Psst! If you go Gold, you’ll save $50 on DYMU!)
For the added bonus volunteer training material, is this for leaders of middle schoolers or high schoolers or both?
What if you are already a Gold Member?
Already an annual gold member and it still costs $40 🙁
I just became a Gold Member a few days ago but it says it’s gonna cost me? How do I get it for free?
upgraded to gold member this mid year. don’t see where it is free in basket?