If you’re anything like me, planning isn’t just a thing you do, it’s part of who you are. One of the best days of my year is the day I get to hang a new wall calendar up and start planning the next year’s events. So you can imagine my disappointment and I’m sure many of you relate to the heartbreak I felt as recent global events rendered much of my planning moot.
DYM and other great ministry resources jumped into action as we all had a massive shift in plans and needed to change much of what we do on a dime. And while that’s amazing and it certainly helped me and my ministry – hello Zoom games (#goldmemeberperks); it didn’t change that much of my beloved plans had been canceled or changed so drastically they are practically a new event (online camp for example). So what’s a youth pastor to do when her amazing super planned color coded summer gets wiped out by things entirely out of her control? I’m glad you asked, because I made a plan:
1 – Grieve. That’s right, I said it. We’re allowed to be disappointed, bummed out and even mad that we don’t get to do ministry how we planned or wanted to. We didn’t expect it, and neither did our students. They’re upset, and disappointed – many didn’t get a graduation ceremony or party for that matter. Our group outings, camps, and conferences have been canceled, tweaked or turned digital. It sucks. It’s ok to be upset and to show students they’re allowed to be upset at life right now.
2 – Expect God to do something big. Scripture shows us time and time again that God can and does huge amazing things in light of what looks like tragedy or massive deviation from plans. I could be wrong, but I doubt Job planned to have his life turned upside down, or Paul was hoping he’d end up shipwrecked. But we serve a big God, who has a habit of doing big things through what we think are the worst of times. So pray, wait, hope, expect God to show up in big ways. Maybe for some of you, you’re already seeing that, how awesome!
3 – Embrace the change. Many of us are already doing this – rock on! Maybe this is the chance for you to up your social media game, maybe it changes how we do discipleship, maybe it gives you new avenues of ministry like snail-mailing cards to students and leaders. Whatever your new everyday ministry looks like, embrace it, God may do something big through it.
I’m typing to myself in writing this, as this has become my daily struggle and goal over the past few months. As someone who lives by a calendar this has been a trying season in my ministry but it has created some unique opportunities for growth and relationship. Grieve when appropriate, expect the amazing, embrace the changes as they come.
I’m the youth pastor at Marysville Christian Church in Marysville, OH and a graduate of Kentucky Christian University (Go Knights!). When I’m not hanging out with students I love to hike and hammock, pretty much anything outdoors! I think I may be the only youth pastor to hate pizza and I that middle schooler students could rule the world if they didn’t have an early bedtime.