This is part four in my series on building an infrastructure to support your youth ministry. You can read through from the beginning starting here.
Every youth pastor’s calendar is different, based on the size and model of church, but what drives me crazy is a calendar that is random.
Why did you put that event there?
Why did you choose to put the camp that week?
What does this program have to do with the ministry’s overall vision?
Just like you need a vision, a team of caring adults, and a supportive pastor; you need a calendar that makes sense.
Consider some types of infrastructure that makes your town work; roads, bridges, institutions, government, water treatment, energy grids, and communication. The calendar you create for your youth ministry needs to reflect what you’re trying to build and maintain.
Let me toy with with a few of these terms of infrastructure to better explain how a good calendar, executed well, can bring support to your youth ministry
Bridges/Roads – If you want new students entering your youth ministry, you’re going to need a way for them to get to you. Bridge event can be evangelistic outreaches like lock-ins or simple events your students can invite their friends to like bowling.
Institutions – Education and government are institutions every city needs. Student have to have a way to learn and to question, such as small groups, but they also have to have a hand in leading their own youth ministry. Having special events to train students to lead needs to be on the calendar or you’ll create entitled students expecting paid staff to work harder to cater to them to maintain their loyalty.
Water Treatment- This is critical if you want to keep a town healthy. Camps, retreats, etc. are the healthiest thing you put on the calendar. Getting your students away from the every day grind and giving them time to know each other only creates a more healthy youth ministry.
Energy Grids – Hard to living in a town without power. Students like high energy events, but high energy events don’t have to be limited to concerts or trampoline parks. High energy also means spiritual energy such as a night of worship or service project. We have to feed their souls and not just the flesh.
Communication – Towns have newspapers (yes, they’re still a thing) radio stations, tv stations and the internet. The way you communicate your calendar is as important as the calendar itself. I’m not just talking about to students but to your church, your parents and your community.
Random events to keep kids entertained and coming to church is a losing proposition. Your calendar should be like a Trojan Horse of events but secretly it carries your vision and purpose for students. The calendar is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
Build a calendar that makes sense (falls in line with your vision and purpose) and you’ll minimize any confusion about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Great than reducing confusion, you’ll inspire your parents and students that you are a youth ministry on a mission to grow and are leading students into spiritual maturity.