You’re back at it—into the Fall with your youth ministry. Move quickly and don’t miss the opportunity for a kickoff payoff!
With well-done, comprehensive events that help your students find their “onramp” into your ministry, you accomplish three things: 1) You send the message that this year is something special, which, in turn, generates more buzz. 2) You increase attendance at all the upcoming events because families know how to plan. 3) And you get a head-start by planning the work; then all you’ll have to do is work the plan.
Use this checklist to ensure a strong start to a fabulous fall of ministry.
• If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to set all dates, locations, and costs for trips, activities, and special events through next summer. Also, update your leaders’ and students’ contact information, and compile a list of your volunteer needs for the upcoming year.
• Choose your primary “kickoff event” dates and carve them into all your church’s calendars. Then send out save-the-date notices to parents, kids, staffers, and volunteers. Help parents understand the importance of youth ministry by giving them a glimpse into your strategy with this event. Here’s an article that will help you begin or sustain the conversation with parents about the importance of youth ministry.
• Advertise your kickoff events as fun, don’t-miss events for all kids and families. Then follow through by arranging for great food, games, music, prizes, freebies, and so on.
• Reserve a spacious, inviting room at your church for all your kickoff events—especially if your youth room is less than optimum for a larger group.
• Recruit a coordinator who’s skilled at throwing parties with purpose. Meet to brainstorm themes, as well as what booths or tables you’ll need to feature the upcoming year’s events.
Build momentum and grow expectations
• At your kickoff events, distribute calendars and updated directories.
• Display volunteer job descriptions and sign-up sheets. (Ideally, ask a coordinator to prepare these for you.)
• Line up a Notary Public so parents can fill out a unilateral notarized permission form on the spot. The more paperwork you can get out of the way at the beginning of the year, the better.
• Studies (and experience) show that youth ministries have a narrow window at the start of each school year to attract busy kids. Get them excited and on board before they gravitate toward something else. With a little legwork right now you’ll be all set for success throughout the year.