Advance Planning for Youth Ministry

Advance planning is not the whole of ministry work, but if you don’t do it there are entire avenues of ministry that will be closed off to you.

I started this past program year with nary a plan for most of what would happen, and I can say that that approach cut off certain possibilities right from the start: the possibility of investing significant time in volunteers; the possibility of connecting with most of our parents; the possibility of spontaneous interactions with students. Not that those things didn’t happen at all, only that they would have happened a lot more had the ground been cleared of all the pressing weekly planning details in advance.

You know, like curriculum writing.

So I’m building an advance planning document. I have it open all the time as I work these days, and every time something occurs to me that needs planned, I put it in there for a particular month. I’m planning a year out; September is not just for finalizing details for this year’s Confirmation retreat but also for booking next year’s.

Do you use something like this? How far in advance do you plan things? I took Mark DeVries’s advice and started recruiting fall youth group volunteers in the spring, and I’m pleased with how that’s gone. Do you do that?

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