Whether its the start of a calendar year or a school year, the need to start strong is the same. What does it take to begin strongly? Here are 5 ideas to think about when you start planning the new year.
1. Pray. Talk to God about what your group (and individual students) needs. Spend time praying about the spiritual health of the people involved in the ministry.
2. Have a direction in mind. Know where you want the group to move toward (this will come from your time spent praying). As a whole, where do you want them to be? Will the focus be on an upcoming missions trip? Do they need to learn more about their faith? Would it be best for you to do some outreach focused activities?
3. Plan with your team. Once you have spent time talking to God about your group and know where you want the group to go, get together with your youth ministry team. Share with them the direction and passion God has given you. Get their feedback and discuss what you can do to help the students get to the “point” you want them to. (This is definitely not a magic formula and God can always change things up or work however He wants to, but we can’t sit back idly doing nothing either)
4. Place the big events on the calendar. (this is one I struggle with) Once you have the first few big events (one a quarter) scheduled, put them on the calendar. Then make sure the parents and students know the dates well in advance.
5. Be Present with the students. Now that the “big stuff” is done (well, you’ll still be doing the details) you need to spend your time being present with the students. Go to their games, eat lunch with them, call them, write a note/email/text/IM/write on their wall. Use this time to listen to what God is doing in their life. Be an encouragement. Challenge them to go deeper. Help prepare them for what you feel God is going to be doing in their lives over the next few months.
What tips or ideas do you have for starting the new year strong?