This past summer my ministry hosted some national churches to come and do some post Sandy hurricane work. I was discussing some of the details with the sending missions organization when the director made this statement.

“Have you ever worked with youth pastors? They can be disorganized and flighty.” Ouch.

He laughed when I shared that I was a youth pastor, pleasantly surprised that I din’t fit the “stereotype.” Some of you are giggling nervously right now as you know the description is you, while others are livid it’s the label we “bear.”

Plan your work. Work your plan. It’s not leadership genius. Goals and planning are the anthem of every January. Then something happens, maybe the “cold vortex” freezes us out but it happens: our best ideas never become a reality. Then, we use a lot of excuses to back up our inability to follow through.

People who know me are often surprised that “administration” is usually my lowest score on any personality or spiritual giftings test. It has become a learned behavior, which keeps me sane. Somewhere along the way I learned that organization and strategy helps me focus MORE on the students.

So what do you do?

Find Something That Works FOR YOU
Almost two weeks into the New Year, you are over-inundated with blog posts about the best way to set goals and meet them. Know yourself. What can you set up that you will STICK to? You may to take one nugget from here and there. Stop thinking you have to be everyone else and DO SOMETHING.

Set Yourself Up For Success
Start with a few things that you can achieve quickly and easily. Once you feel the wind of accomplishment in your face it will build momentum. If you have a long-term goal for the year how can you break it down into “edible” pieces? Build one step onto the next.

Embrace Process
I love items like volunteer manuals, forms and consistency. When we hold everyone accountable to the same guidelines then we don’t have to keep “making it up as we go.” Did you ever realize that “shooting from the hip,” actually eats more time? You can always “bend the rules” if you need to as you go, however, process actually helps your team, students and families know exactly what to expect.

Plan With A Willingness to Throw It Out
I once heard a pastor tell me that he details out every sermon and then gives permission to the Lord each week to throw it out in the pulpit. God is a planner, just look around at the intricacy of creation. Pray about your plans, be close to Him, and listen for the times when He says, “Do this different.” However, don’t use God as an excuse to avoid goal setting.

Start small. Make a calendar and stick with it this month or even today. Ask yourself, “If I ran into a student in 10 years, who would I want to meet up with?” Then write down details of what that looks like. Start with one step towards the part you play in that answer.

Just start.

Leneita Fix co-founded Frontline Urban Resources to help equip, coach and speak into the lives of those working with families living in a “survival mode” mentality. They refer to this thinking as the “new urban.” You can see her resources on DYM right here.