Fall is coming.

If you are thinking, “It’s way too early” then I think you are already behind. When summer hits, events, services and camps will already be here and you will fall behind (speaking from experience here). We are talking through our fall this next year and I have been processing a bit.

Here are some random thoughts:

The best idea wins. Every ministry has those events (sacred cows) in which it’s something you have always done. I love annual events and I think some continue to work. We have a Fall Flannel Festival every fall wear students wear flannel, carve pumpkins and have inflatables and they love it. It kills every year. But we need to be careful that events do not become so untouchable. That’s why I love our team operates on the “best idea wins” mentality. If there is a better idea on the table then what we have been doing, that idea will win. Having this idea right up front will help protect you from having a sacred cow because everyone knows the best idea wins and if it better than what we do now, it’s gone.

Effective over longevity. Kind of sounds like the first but it’s just taking it a little further. Far too many youth pastors are putting on events or programs just to fill their calendar. Putting on things just to do things is not effective. Be strategic. Know what will work with your students. If there is an event that is supposed to be an outreach type event but no new students are showing up. Kill it. Regroup. Come up with an event that will actually reach students who come to church. If there is a discipleship thing you do but no students sign up, get rid of it. Think through what will get your students to actually want to take their next steps in their faith. If the event or program has been going for a long time, you need to ask yourself the question, “Is this effective for what I want out of my ministry?”

Play to your strengths and know your culture. Like most ministries, fall is a natural momentum time. Students are back in school and are looking for something midweek. It’s great time for students to bring friends. We also know it takes a few weeks for our students to get into the swing of things with school. So we wait until students are in school for a few weeks before we launch our fall kick off and the big events so there is enough time to promote them and for students to get in the new swing of things. Knowing our culture and our timing only helps us plan for better events.

Don’t just change to change. What worked last year could work this year. It just takes you being intentional with your review process after an event or new program. Our team personally goes through: RIGHT, WRONG, MISSING, CONFUSED after events or looking back at the year to try and get a good read on what was successful or not. But careful, repeating could turn into ruts. Trying new things just to try new things could put in you in a hole. Be sure to be seeking god on where He is calling you to go, to try, to keep and be intentional with the change you want to see.