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Programming

Stephanie Caro's humorous, straightforward style keeps her busy presenting at conferences, training events, camps, mission trips, retreats, churches, etc. She is Senior Consultant for Ministry Architects and author of "Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches" and "99 Thoughts for the Smaller Church Youth Worker." Her next book, “Ten Solutions (to Ten Common Mistakes Small Churches Make)” comes out in 2015. Stephanie is a contributing author to several ministry resources in addition to her regular column “Smaller Church Youth Ministry” in Group Magazine. Stephanie and her husband, Steve, live in Houston, TX.

So I was laying in bed last night thinking about this series on uthmin numbers (sad, I know) and a few more numbers popped into my head:

1) 3 Hours per 1 Hour: Want to figure how much time your leadership job should take? Here’s a formula I’ve always used: For every hour of actual programming or required times for you or your ministry, add another 3 hours for all the other stuff it takes to run the ministry. For example: Sunday school = 1.5 hours, youth group = 2.5 hours, weekly staff meeting = 2 hours. Total = 6 hours. 6 hours x 3 per = 18 hours. 18 hours (youth organizational plus the original 6 face-to-face) = 24 hours. This doesn’t have to be done just by the leader; volunteers can pick up some of this.

2) 1x Monthly: Small churches often ask what amount of programming is a good target amount to calendar. From my experience, one extra event (apart from the weekly stuff) is just about enough. Otherwise, too few kids are trying to cover too many events and the already sketchy critical mass number goes down even more. Here’s where this gets tricky: some youth leaders make the mistake of NOT counting church events as the 1x a month event. So take those church-wide things into account. For example,  include the Spring Church Talent Show or the Church Christmas Caroling Party. Your students can have great fun together at times like these AND its intergenerational, too.

3) 1x Weekly: To build the kind of ministry you want for your students, they have to see each other on a regular basis. Weekly is still best, though what that looks like may differ. I just talked with a church last night whose best attended youth program is Sunday school, so my advice was to put most of their youth “eggs into that basket.” Some churches can’t get students into Sunday school even if Jesus were teaching the class, but they can get kids out on Sunday nights. Make that your key discipleship time. You know what? I’ve never seen a “meet once a month” youth group that was ever able to gain any traction.

All for now, friends.

Stephanie

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