We laid out HSM’s spring calendar this past week – it was a great time of focusing our energy on the purposes and laying out the direction for our ministry. The process we followed to get our calendar set up went really well, so I thought it might be helpful for you as well as you work ahead, too:
Strive for balance
The first mission is for the leadership to be clear that one purpose or agenda isn’t going to dominate our calendar. We are a youth ministry that wants to be purpose-driven, not driven by one particular purpose. We will spend time talking about evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and worship – not letting any one thing drive the direction.
Take one purpose and run with it
So after the balance conversation, we spent time going through each month (January through June), putting on events, classes, trips and meetings that focus on one purpose. We also look at what we did the previous year and debrief them on the fly. If they worked, we consider it for the new year. If it didn’t, we do our best to go after something fresh. So we look at January and talk just discipleship, then hit month by month all focusing on that one purpose.
Repeat that process for each purpose
Then we went month by month again, this time through the eyes of evangelism. After that we hit fellowship dates for small groups, then dropped in discipleship retreats, camps and trainings. The goal was for each purpose to be represented clearly on the calendar.
Drop in the deadlines
Once the calendar is more or less “set” we dropped in deadlines for registrations and various milestones that related to the projects. For example, our mission trip requires a registration start and end, as well as 3 parent meetings and a celebration weekend. Small groups don’t just start day one, they need registration dates, deadlines and enough time for us to process the students into groups. When you plan an event, be sure to also include the follow-up dates as well.
Look at the big picture and cut away
Then we took a look at the overall big picture and goal for balance and health and start the painful process of figuring out what needs to be cut. We also came in with the mindset of what items need to be adjusted – could we partner our event with another time our target audience is already at church, instead of asking for another night out of the team and the committed.