Last year’s youth ministry was going to be different, so we prepared differently. We reached out and over-communicated and listened.
This year was going to be a return to “normal,” so we prepared the way we used to: we communicated to everyone at once and all in the same way, and we didn’t really ask how people felt about it.
Two things are now clear. First, in youth ministry, “normal” is what you did last year; every new year needs to be planned and interpreted as its own thing. By the time we start planning for the fall of 2022, our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade youth will have no practical experience of what youth ministry at our church was like before Covid. The other thing that’s clear is that the year you plan is not the year you get. We didn’t plan on Omicron.
The advantage of all the outreach and listening and over-communicating at the start of the year is that you can bank those conversations for when the year goes off the rails. You’ve already heard from people. The channels of communication are open, so when tough decisions have to be made parents are more likely to share their concerns and hopes.
If you didn’t reach out and listen at the start of the year?