3 Simple Steps to Planning A Great Year

The summer is an extremely important time for a youth ministry.

Sure, have a break.  Go on holidays, recharge your batteries.

But when you are at the church, I hope you aren’t poking around on social media, letting time tick away.

Right now is the time for you to plan.  I know, the “plan” word sounds so boring.  There are 100 more interesting things that you could be doing.  However, if you plan out your entire year now, it will allow you to be a better youth leader when the Fall hits.
This is how I do it..

When I plan, I go old school. I print off 12 monthly calendars from September to August and then I add boulders first, pebbles second, and sand last. Here’s a free one that you can use.


  1. Boulders

If you had some boulders, pebbles and sand to fit into a bucket there is a simple way to make it all fit.  You put the big items in first then the next largest and so forth.  Small items can be flexible and move around the big items.

So what are the boulders of your youth ministry?

  • Retreats
  • Conferences
  • Banquets
  • Missions Trips
  • Graduations

These events are big, important and will not be moved from you calendar, write them down on the dates you want to do them.

  1. Pebbles

Next is the regular events that you do.

  • Worship services
  • Small groups
  • Leader meetings
  • Parent meetings

Now that you have them all written down on your calendar start thinking about themes.  What do you want to teach on this year.  Start mapping out what themes you will teach when.  You will be amazed when and how creativity pops up on you when you now teaching themes months in advance.

  1. Sand

Now you put the flexible parts into your calendar.

  • Study time
  • Student lunches/coffees
  • Praying for students/ministry

You might be thinking, “this stuff is important, of course I will do it”.  My experience is if you do not plan for these flexible activities they never happen.

There you go, that is the boulder, pebble, sand process of planning.  I hope you have a great summer, and you take some time to plan.

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.


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