It was a typical afternoon in Paris when a Frenchman wandered his way into an art gallery at the Louvre. Taken aback by the beauty of the paintings, he decided he wanted them for himself. After all, many of the paintings were extraordinarily valuable and he figured he could use the money as well as appreciate the art from his living room. Once the afternoon turned into evening, he broke into the Louvre and nabbed as many paintings as he could carry. Suddenly the alarms began to blaze! But the Frenchman knew he would escape before the police could apprehend him. So he hopped into his car with the paintings in hand and began to grin. He’d done it! He ignited the engine and started to move the car forward when he suddenly sputtered to a halt. His getaway van ran out of fuel. The Frenchman was arrested but given bail at his first hearing. As he began to walk down the court steps, a reporter stopped him and asked how he had forgotten such a vital part of his plan. The thief paused for a moment and said, “Simple, I had no Monet for Degas to make the Van Gogh.”
Try This! ❯
Develop an annual calendar this week and schedule a calendar meeting with your key players.
It’s no secret that youth ministry moves at a fast pace. Sometimes it can feel as if you are barely coming up for air before you have to plunge back down into the depths of the next sermon series or event that’s right around the corner. This makes it challenging to develop a strategic plan for your youth ministry that looks a year or more down the road. Yet developing an annual calendar is essential to the success and health of any ministry. While it may seem overly ambitious, it is not as intimidating as you may think. And if done correctly, developing an annual calendar can help you effectively build relational evangelism into your ministry strategy.
Here are five steps to help you develop an annual calendar:
1. Review (or Develop) Your Vision Statement
Annual calendars should blossom out of your ministry’s vision statement. Picture yourself at a bus stop. You are trying to figure out how to get home, so what do you do? You begin to look around until you notice the top panel on each bus is flashing its destination. Once you find the right bus, you hop onboard. Similarly, a vision statement acts as a final destination; it informs your ministry about where you’re planning to go. If you have never established a vision statement for your ministry or want to prayerfully take the time to readdress your current vision statement, then check out Dare 2 Share’s e-resource 5 Steps to Crafting a Bold Vision for Your Youth Ministry.
2. Add Dates
As you may know, there are multiple routes that can take you to the same destination—some better than others. An annual calendar is like mapping out your ministry’s route to reach its vision statement. Put things on the calendar that will help you achieve your goals the best possible way by avoiding unnecessary detours. For instance, if part of your vision is for students to grow and engage in relational evangelism, then formulate your calendar accordingly. You can schedule a series on relational evangelism, setup a social event, and add anything else that works best for your ministry and the resources that you have. This will help set the pace for you as well as those who are a part of leadership.
3. Bring Leaders Into the Conversation
If you need input, don’t be afraid to ask! Setup a calendar meeting with your key leaders who can help develop the calendar itself. Hold a leadership breakfast or coffee meet-up to discuss the calendar. Send out an email in advance inviting the leaders to brainstorm some ideas. Be sure to help them focus on what you are trying to accomplish, so try to be as specific as possible. For example, if you would like your students to each have 10 gospel conversations by the end of the year, then ask your adult leaders to come up with two ideas each for promoting gospel conversations. (Here’s a helpful article on ways to promote gospel conversations.) Once you are together, discuss the details and figure out the best practices for your ministry to achieve its goals. This will allow for the leaders to really feel like that are contributing to the ministry as well as inspire them to own the ministry goals.
4. Hold a Calendar Meeting
Losing sight of the ultimate target is one of the worst things any ministry can do. Sometimes it’s tempting to shoot an arrow at the wall and then paint the bull’s-eye around it. But after time, you just become busy “doing things,” instead of accomplishing the mission God’s called you to. Instead, help the church and your leaders know what you are aiming for and how you plan on getting there by having a yearly calendar meeting. At this meeting, you can invite whoever you think will help you best commit to the calendar objectives. Communicate with the parents and leaders what the year will look like. This could even help you gain support from your parents if you have resource needs! Everyone will appreciate your intentionality.
5. It’s OK to Adjust
Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. Scripture reminds us how “we make our own plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9, NLT). In the same way, it’s OK to make adjustments during the year. There are moments within every minister’s life when circumstances—whether triggered by tragedy, celebration or the urging of the Holy Spirit — will require you to recalibrate. The ministry wasn’t created for the calendar; the calendar was created for the ministry!The ministry wasn't created for the calendar; the calendar was created for the ministry! Click To Tweet
As the old saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Metaphorically speaking, you don’t want to be the Frenchman who has everything that he needs, but ends up being stuck on the side of the road because of a lack of planning. Let a well thought-out calendar fuel your van so you can go!
Want more practical advice on mobilizing your teens to share the gospel? All of our Mobilize stories offer great ideas for training your students and building a Gospel Advancing Ministry. Sign up here to receive this free, hands-on, weekly resource in your inbox!