You know it can feel daunting to look ahead at the next ministry year’s calendar and wonder what you’re going to do. You hope that this year will be the best yet, but there’s so many things to juggle, and if you aren’t careful the fall will be crashing in around you.
You got this though — you can lead your team in a great launch to this year’s ministry season. Take some time to get these strategic ideas on your calendar and feel the momentum as you start strong this fall:
1. Plan Something New
New naturally generates momentum. It gives extra talking points to parents who are trying to convince their kids to go to your program. It gives your students a different way to invite their friends. New is fresh. New reminds students that you are always looking to make things better. New says you care about the experience your students have.
New doesn’t have to be expensive.
New doesn’t have to be time consuming.
It just has to be new.
So what is new?
New is a public playlist that plays at your program that students can access afterwards.
New is free snacks.
New is introducing the new volunteer.
New is talking about what you do in a new way. Posting a preview of the game you’ll be playing on social the week before your program or sharing thoughts on the upcoming message ahead of the fact.
New can be bigger than that too. It can be the relaunch of a program name or an updated meeting space or an overhaul of your strategy. But when you plan something new, spend time thinking about how it will help inspire students.
New can also be old. Introduce youth to practices of discipleship from contemplative writers (ancient and modern) like Brother Lawrence, Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, and others. Help them see the continuity and heritage of the faith they are exploring, and discover practices of meditation, contemplation, etc. that can help them become more resilient in a world of anxiety and stress.
2. All Volunteer Meeting
You love your team. They are with you and they are excited for another season of ministry.
Show them how much you appreciate them by gathering together ahead of the ministry season. You want them 100% on mission with you, and to keep your team aligned you should gather at least a few times a year in person.
There are lots of ways to slice what that meeting looks like, but a simple template is to encourage, equip, and educate.
Encourage them by thanking them for their commitment to the next season. Encourage them with stories of what God is doing in students’ lives. Encourage them with words from your senior pastor. Encourage them with a fun gift like a new team t-shirt or ministry lanyard.
Equip them by giving them the tools they need to confidently do great ministry with students. There’s lots of websites and resources that you can use, but we would love to help you out by hosting your team at a CYWC Regional Training Event. In the meantime, send them an episode or two of the Youth Ministry Team Podcast. You’ll be their hero because you’re getting them answers to the questions they’re asking.
Lastly, educate them about the upcoming season. What are the topics you are covering? What are the dates they should know about? What are the things you are still wrestling with? What do you need their input on? What is the core mission and vision of your ministry? Overcommunicate these things consistently with them.
3. Calling and Texting Blitz
Launching with momentum means having students show up, and one of the best ways to make sure they know when to show up is by telling them (go figure eh?).
You can equip other team members or even other students to help with calling. You’d be amazed at the kind of conversations that come up when you talk briefly with students and parents heading into a new ministry season.
And if leaders are texting with students regularly, make sure to equip them with the right language to use around the start to this new ministry season. For example, you’ll get a better response if you ask, “Will I see you there?” instead of the generic, “Hope to see you there!”
4. Email Campaign to Parents
While your students likely aren’t checking email regularly, their parents are. You can honor your students’ parents well by communicating clearly and regularly with them. Email works great for this.
Keep your emails short and to the point. Let parents know the topics you are covering this season, the new things that you are doing so they can see the quality programming you are creating for their students, and then cast some vision as to why they should partner with your ministry on behalf of their students. Talk about the difference that regular attendance can make for their student as they build that connection with their consistent small group leader.
Last on the list but should be your first priority. Pray big prayers for this next ministry season.
Pray that God would make you and your team sharper than ever before so you can point more students to Jesus.
Pray that He would give you the privilege of seeing students take their first steps in their faith journey, that some would see their faith come alive in a powerful way, that some would change the trajectory of their future because of what Jesus wants to do in their life.
Pray that He would teach you new things as you get the awesome privilege of making an eternal difference in the lives of students.
And know that we are praying for you this fall!