It’s already April! Most people have returned from their Spring break trips, (I didn’t get away and I wished I had). For most people, their mindset is already looking to the Summer and many of you are already seeing numbers take a dip as the weather warms up or Spring sports hit full speed ahead… As many are looking ahead to the Summer months, I think it’s good not to forget the weeks leading up to Summer. Here are 5 essential elements I have tried to establish as I look to finish the school year well.
1) Survey Your Students and Leaders: Don’t assume you know what worked for your ministry in the last school year, ask your students (and your leaders). I will actually be using a Sunday morning program to survey our students and celebrate the last year. Our survey is pretty detailed, (I’ll post it soon), and gives students a good chance for students to provide us specific feedback. We use this survey as a way to design upcoming Fall and Winter programs and events. Before the summer truly hits, it’s good to reflect and digest on where you have been. I will be sitting down with some of my core leaders to review the school year and plan the Fall.
2) Head For A End Of School Year Event: We always close out our school year with a big event that is promoted heavily and incorporates celebration and fun. It also acts as a beginning of summer event in some ways too. It’s good to have defining events like this that signify a change in schedule or programming.
3) Promote The Summer Now: If you haven’t planned your summer AND begun to promote some of your summer program, now is the time to begin… Parents especially are already looking at what camps and activities to involve their students in. Your events and programs will get a back seat in the family schedule if you don’t promote now. It’s also helpful to get students sold on the summer schedule now. For us, we shut down our midweek program for the summer but add in other programs and events. For some students this can feel like a loss of sorts. However, if we start promoting the summer now, by the time the change actually comes, it is easier to accept.
4) Honor Your Graduates: Whether it’s honoring grads in your regular services or at your youth ministry programs, it’s essential that we celebrate our grads! Do you have a date on the calendar yet? We pick the same date every year as it works for us. It’s the Sunday before Memorial Day. Even though we honor them a few weeks before they graduate, we have found that we can get them and their family there before the open house season goes crazy. It also allows us to promote our college / career program and get them thinking about plugging in over the Summer before many of them head of to college in the Fall.
5) Honor Your Leaders: My leaders have been phenomenal in this last year! We have a leaders end of year BBQ on the schedule where I get to thank them and also ‘fire’ them. (I stole this idea from Doug Fields years ago. The premise is to ‘fire’ leaders on a yearly basis and allow them to walk away from youth ministry if they feel they need to. I would rather have deeply committed leaders rather than leaders who come back out of obligation or guilt).
What would you add to this list? What ideas can I steal from you? How are you finishing up your school year well?