“You can do anything, but you can’t do everything”
LOOKING AT THE YEAR AHEAD
Spending time planning involves having a clear plan with a clear end in mind. This means that all your events, parents, and volunteers will all work seamlessly together to lead the kids and students in your church family towards a growing relationship with Jesus. With your ministry team, spend time identifying:
- Goals for the youth group for the year
- Key liturgical events that will be celebrated. E.g. Christmas, Easter, Christ the King, Saint Feast Days, Lent, Advent etc.
- Key/annual events that you want to plan for. E.g. youth retreats/camps (e.g. Y-Factor), SCY events (i.e. Ignite), ACYF
THINGS TO REMEMBER
SET REALISTIC GOALS
Goals and vision are a great starting point in directing your team and your work for the ministry year. It is important that you spend time as a team reflecting, discerning and praying about where God is leading you and your team to serve. Spend time reflecting on the following questions with you team:
- What does a young, faithful disciple look like?
- What does a successful Catholic community look like?
- How can we get there?
- What are we going to do to achieve this?
- Is it possible?
- Is it necessary?
Record your goals on a document/notice board/poster/vision board, and re-visit with your team every month to ensure that your work is focused and Christ-centered.
COMPLEMENT, DON’T COMPETE
Plan your ministry with your school and community calendars in mind. By thinking outside your ministry, you’ll end up creating natural intersections between school, church and community life. Too often, you can get caught up in competition between these events when they should be used to compliment your youth planning so that you can attend as well as limit your need for planning. For example, if the Parish community/school organises a fundraiser event every year, schedule this event into your yearly plan so that your youth can attend. This also creates a better chance for everyone to engage with the events you offer.
USING EVENTS AS A PLATFORM
Planning big events in ministry is a lot of fun and can be perfect opportunities to engage young people outside of your community. However, these should not be the ‘be all and end all’ of your ministry. More often than not, we craft high energy events without a purpose in mind for how they serve the bigger picture of the ministry year. Simply put—we can spend a lot of time, energy, and money on something that may bring the crowds and may be fun, but doesn’t build disciples or a tight knit youth community. Instead, craft these events to build momentum and play a role in the bigger picture of the year.
FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST
If you have a 2 hour youth group every week during school term, you will be seeing your young people for approximately 80 hours a year out of a possible 8,800 hours. With not a lot of time available, it is essential that you prioritise the things that matter the most to your young people. These will vary between youth groups and communities, but the Kerygma is a great place to start!
RE-ENGAGE PARENTS AND VOLUNTEERS.
There’s the famous saying “you can’t give from an empty cup” and your ministry team is the same. As much as you might love to, you cannot do ministry full-time for an entire year; you need to take a break. So make sure you schedule in time during the year when you can have some time off and spend some time refilling your ministry cup. Go on a retreat with your team and spend some time with the Lord refuelling your heart, mind and soul.
Need some help planning out your ministry year? Get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will organise a time to meet with you and provide you with some extra resources to help you plan!