Over the next couple of weeks, youth ministries will be in full swing with summer activities.
Most likely your summer calendar is already set. Hopefully.
I've noticed over the years that some summers I had a very balanced summer calendar, and other years it was way off balance. One summer we had too many fun events. One summer we had more service events. One summer we had more worship-focused events. It always bothered me because I wanted to our summer calendar to be balanced between discipleship, worship, service, and fun events.
Well, I thought I would give you three ways to plan a balanced summer calendar. Some things I've learned to do over the years that have been very helpful.
1. Write out your goals for that summer and purpose for your Youth Ministry. Each summer you should have goals for your youth group. Sure...every summer we want our youth groups to grow closer to God and to one another. But what other goals do you have? Do you want to get them out of their comfort zone? Do you want to encourage new leaders? Limit your goals to three to five, so that you don't set yourself up for failure because you're trying to do too much in a limited amount of time. Also, make sure you have your purpose statement in front of you. If you don't have a purpose statement, this would be a good time to write one. Every youth ministry needs a clear, concise purpose that will help bring vision and balance.
2. Put your non-negotiable events on the calendar first. What are the things that you do every summer that you will pretty much always do? For us, it would be Bible Camp, mission trip, etc. Make sure these non-negotiable events are blocked out on your summer calendar first, and list them on a separate sheet of paper with the purpose(s) and goal(s) that each event will help fulfill for your youth ministry.
3. Put your negotiable/flexible events to the test. List every negotiable/flexible event that you are either planning or want to plan to do. Write out beside it what purpose(s) and goal(s) this event will help fulfill. Pay attention to whether or not you are missing any of your goals or purposes. If you are, write down an event/activity that would fulfill that goal. Also, keep in mind which purposes and goals your non-negotiable events are fulfilling. Start with the events that will meet a goal or purpose that haven't been met. Put them on your calendar. Then fill in the rest of your calendar appropriately. After you are done, list your goals separately. Write down each event that accomplishes each goal. Then list your purposes for your Youth Ministry. Write down each activity/event that fulfills each purpose. This will show you whether or not your summer calendar is balanced.
Summertime is always crazy busy. And it can be some of the most impactful time we will have with our students. The more balanced our calendar, the more productive and effective our youth ministries will be.
If you're looking for some teaching material for either you or your leaders to teach this summer, head over to our Teaching Series page and check out some of the resources we have available.