The Baseball World Series had just wrapped up when my home-town radio station began talking about all the moves our team had to make in order to be competitive next year. The next morning I read an article about a pitcher playing winter ball in South America preparing for the season that is nearly six months away.
It got me thinking, baseball does not begin until the spring, but teams and individuals are already preparing for the season. Much game-planning and preparations are already going on in order to prep for the long grind of summer. What if the same were true of youth ministry? What if we prepared for the next season (whether the school year, summer programming or calendar year) the same way that athletes or teams prepared?
Though we are still weeks away, I’d like to propose five things youth ministries can be working on right now to keep REACHING TEENS WITH THE CAUSE as the primary focus and to prepare for the new year ahead.
- Prioritize A Prayer Movement: Why not have every student in your group be prayed for and prayed with? Not only will this propel your students, it will invigorate your congregation. Take the month (like January or February) and do something like Pray21 (a 21 Day prayer partnership between student(s) and an adult).
- Recruit More Team Members: Use winter break, retreats or just “off hours” to expose potential new volunteer team members to the ministry.
- Consider a SLAMM Approach: Student Led, Adult Mentored Ministry creates ownership not chaos! Begin dreaming, scheming, plotting, planning, praying and partnering with students now for what they want for the spring and summer.
- Unite with Parents: Use the slow-down of the holidays or winter break as an opportunity to build and/or strengthen relationship with parents so that come the new year you sense the momentum and power of being united in purpose to see teens being discipled and making disciples!
- Know Where You’re Going: We rarely get in a car with no destination in mind. Yet, we often begin a year in youth ministry with an undetermined destination. There is no reason you and your team can’t have a full January to August calendar planned with all the major events and approximate costs so that all can see the year at a glance! You’ll be doing everyone a favor!
If we want to see students equipped to reach their unchurched friends with the Gospel, it needs to be fueled by prayer, we need mentors to help them as we entrust them with leadership. Involving parents to support them and guiding the teens into strategic opportunities will propel your ministry forward in the new year!
What are some of your priorities?