#4: planning matters. In student ministry, organization and planning is a key component to running healthy ministry. The tendency I had when I began in ministry is to love students and love God and thought that was all there was to it! I quickly realized that there is a lot more work involved in student ministry. One of those components is how to effectively plan the overall vision. Most ministers are able to come up with a vision or purpose statement for their ministry but sometimes cannot link it with their plans. The "how" is sometimes the most difficult question in fulfilling the vision. One missing link in student ministry today is the lack to finish what we start. Planning is the process of seeking God’s Will and acting on it.
Here are a few tips to help fulfill the "why" with "how":
- What day are you saving for a date with your spouse? What time is protected to be with your family?
- What days are you exercising? If we do not plan to, we probably will forget to be healthy.
- When are you taking a vacation with your family? If we do not plan to rest, we can easily become burned out and exhausted.
- Schedule your days to be purposeful during the week to get into a routine. I use Evernote to write down my set reminders to complete each week to stay on track. It needs to be flexible because of ministry demands. If we do not plan our time, someone will plan it for us! I let my secretary know so that during certain parts of the week I will write my messages and finish small group material.
- Plan your communication: When do you communicate with parents, students and volunteers? It is important to have set times that you communicate with everyone (text, Facebook, email, twitter, snail mail).
Plan each quarter (January-May, June-July, August-December):
- Message series: I start with the big idea or an exegetical study of a passage to plan a series. For me, I plan at least 3 months out so I can plan out all of the creative elements (media) and small group material. It all begins with asking the question, "where are my students at spiritually?"
- Parent Meetings: We have a vision night for parents at the beginning of each school year (January, August). It is a way to lay out the plans in a way that encourages parents to know where the ministry is heading. Every month we send out the "ParentLink" newsletter. It is a good resource with parenting tips, calendar and letter to parents.
- Leadership development: Plan the training events to help equip leaders. We have training meetings at least twice per quarter on specific questions, topics and needs for the group.
- Big events: Missions trip, summer camp, retreats, D-NOWS and more. It is good to lay out the year in advance the main events that support the vision. Planning a year in advance will help streamline the events to be on purpose.
Planning helps people have the space to catch the vision and jump on board!
What are your thoughts on planning and its importance in ministry?