4 Strategies to Make Next Year Great Today

I know it’s April but the summer is coming.

In fact you might already be feeling the fatigue of the youth ministry calendar. Don’t worry, the summer is coming!  The summer is not just a time to rest.  It’s also a great time to evaluate and plan for changes in your youth ministry and life. However, if you want to maximize your summer, you need to start planning for it now.

Here are 4 simple strategies you can use to make next year amazing.

 1. Jot It Down

You need to create a file on your computer or in Evernote.  Or you could have a piece of paper on your desk.  Even a simple note on your phone will work.

I don’t really care how you do it but you need to have a place that you can jot down ideas as soon as they pop into your head.  Think about it for a moment.  Ideas are always popping into your head and then after a few minutes they disappear.

When the summer comes you will be able to take the time to go over all of these ideas you jotted down.  Many you will throw away, but some you will take action on.

2. Ask The Team

This week you need to find a date to meet with your team and debrief the year with them.  Set the date now and let them know so they can plan for it.  This will be one of the most important meetings of the year.

At this meeting have a calendar or a list of all the different things you did this year at the youth ministry.  This will remind everyone of what you did.  Then you need to have 4 different conversations.

  1. Reminisce about the year. This is everyone telling their favourite stories.
  2. What did you do well this past year?
  3. Where did you miss the mark?
  4. What will you do differently next year?

This information will help make next year that much better.  It will also create buy-in from your team.

3. Survey The Students

It would also be wise to ask your students what they think about the ministry before the summer comes.  Do this soon while you still have critical mass.

It doesn’t matter if you do this with paper or use Survey Monkey.  But I do have 2 keys to make a student survey a success.

  1. Make the survey short. No more then 10 questions.
  2. Only ask questions that you will take action on. No fluff.

4. Fast, Focused Prayer

There is one last thing for you to do to make next year great.  Set in your calendar a 5 minute slot to pray.

I know it doesn’t sound like much so then it becomes easy to ignore or forget about.  This is why it is so important to set it into stone.  When you put this appointment in your calendar add an alarm to it so it reminds you.

For 5 minutes everyday have focused prayer on asking God to direct you about next year.  I think we too often underestimate the importance and power of prayer.

How about you?  How do you get the most out of the summer?  Share your ideas below.

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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.