I have to admit that I often enjoy the planning process of youth ministry. There is something about the start of the year, when the calendar is fresh and empty, that inspires creativity and excitement about the ministry year ahead.
Over time I’d like to think I’ve grown in my understanding of how to plan a youth ministry year. This growth has helped in solidifying my process and systems in preparing an event, a curriculum, or even gaining a grasp on the coming 12-months. It’s not always easy taking the ideas and inspiration for youth ministry and making them fit into an already busy year. However, I’ve found it helpful to put my planning in perspective as I look ahead to the year.
(1) Make A Plan To Plan
There needs to be some time set out in your calendar to actually plan.
This will require planning itself.
But as the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail”. With this in mind I’d encourage you to look at your calendar over the next couple of weeks and block out a whole afternoon to plan the coming months (or more). First and foremost, there needs to be time set apart for planning our youth ministries.
Do it now.
(2) Put Planning In Perspective
When I haven’t planned well I can get into an anxious and stressful state.
But when I have planned an event or a meeting to the best of my ability I am considerably less anxious. Even when my planning fails, knowing that I’ve done all I could have in the lead-up allows me to reconcile the failure. It puts me in a better position to evaluate what is happening while things are going wrong and also gives me the metrics to learn what I could’ve done better.
It’s also helpful to be reminded of the words in the book of Proverbs, that while
“…the hearts of humans plan their course, the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
With this kind of thinking my planning is put into perspective.
I can do as much as I can, as well as I can, but at the end of the day I need to recognise God’s hand in these plans too.
Keeping this in mind helps me from relying on my own skills, abilities, and self and turns my heart to praise as I know I’m part of God’s wider, global, mission in youth ministry.
(3) Move Those Plans To Action
We could spend a lot of time planning and little time actually implementing those plans.
Remember to make sure you have the time and energy to put these plans into practice. Each year that goes by I always find an adjustment is needed in my schedule to move the youth ministry forward.
At the end of the day I am hoping to implement the plans I make, having a heart for the Lord to use them in whatever capacity he chooses.
May it be so for me, just as it may be for you as you serve God and his people.