Among the upcoming retreats, Friendsgiving events, Christmas parties, and of course the weekly preparations, are you setting aside time to pray about your youth group’s plans for 2023?
Given the daily, weekly, and monthly demands of a youth pastor, it’s easy to forget to “set the table” for the next season. As with an abundant feast, you can’t control exactly how things will go once people arrive, what people will like, or their willingness to participate, but you can control the preparations that will keep your focus on your bold vision and goals for the year.
Here are four simple planning tips, based on Proverbs, to help you be ready when it’s time to tear off the December calendar page and face January head on:
1. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Pull out your Strategic Action Plan (or, if you don’t have one, think through your list of goals) and honestly evaluate how the last few months have gone. Don’t be afraid to reassess if things have changed or if the Lord has redirected you through prayer or circumstance.
2. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
Remind yourself why you’re doing all that you’re doing. Your ministry isn’t about the numbers, tasks, games, or even praise from others—it’s about the Lord and being faithful to fulfill what He’s called you to do. Trust Him to help you decide on the details.
3. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
Often in youth ministry, we get so busy we forget to collaborate or get opinions and advice from others. When was the last time you asked advice from your senior pastor, your network, a mentor, or even a trusted volunteer? Once you have a rough plan for the winter and spring, invite these important people into the process and let them help you refine the details.
4. “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:25
Most likely you had some disappointments, hurts, setbacks, and struggles this past semester. Let them go and move forward, to the best of your ability, knowing the Lord is at work!
Take some time this week to set the table for God to move in your ministry in mighty ways next year.