In my previous posts I talked about the importance of youth workers being strategic planners and people who have a long-term teaching plan. Having a good prayerful plan can often be the key to greater effectiveness and help us hang in for the long haul. I know it is not always in our DNA as youth workers to enjoy planning, (or even be good at it), but it is a necessary part of becoming a successful and professional youth worker. Having a good plan will also help us gain greater influence from parents, church leaders, (and ultimately benefit our students).
The previous two posts were pretty in depth and full of information, but today I want to be brief with this idea:
An effective youth worker is constantly planning ahead at least one season.
In terms of events, calendar and programs, it is imperative that we are working at least 2-3 months ahead of where we are. For me, I call it a season. As I write this post, my whole summer calendar is published even though here in Michigan we are barely touching the Spring. It’s so important that we work 2-3 months ahead for a number of reasons:
1) Parents Need The Information: If we want parents to support our ministries we should be getting dates to them at least 2-3 months ahead. For missions trips, however, most parents will thank you if you give them the date 6-9 months out.
2) Volunteers Can Plan Better: If you want volunteers at special events and retreats, they need to book time off and make your program a priority. If you are working a month out, don’t expect to get any support.
3) Your Church Staff Will Thank You: By planning a season ahead, you will avoid many of the typical church calendar clashes that often occur when we add dates to the calendar at last minute.
4) You Can Plan Better: Once you get into the mode of working a season ahead of where you are, you can give events and programs more time for creativity and implementation of good ideas.
Working last minute will often result in last ditch efforts.
I also find that I have time to percolate on ideas, messages, and events over a couple months. By the time I get to that season, some of my ideas have grown into the unimaginable.
How are you planning ahead? Are you barely making it? What ideas, events, or messages could benefit from seasonal planning?