August is a perfect window of time to make some lasting connections and build momentum for a new season of student ministry in your church. Here are eight things you can try in August to boost your ministry.
Plan Your School Year Calendar
Get the school calendar (or at least the fall) calendar finished or, if you’ve already started it, it’s time to finalize some things. Here are some steps: 1) Start with the big things. What are the big trips, big events, and big dates you know about already? Don’t forget to calendar out your personal big dates as well (vacations, trips, and family events). Getting the big blocks on the calendar will really help. 2) From there you can determine the meeting times. What is your regular meeting schedule for the year? Are there any days you won’t meet, such as around Christmas or New Year? These first two basic steps will help a ton! After you get these basic dates down, you can start publishing them for your group and your parents. You can then move toward planning out the general scope of the sessions in your meeting times. One possibility is to set it up by themes / months. You have about four meeting times each month, and that goes quickly when you start planning them out.
Get in contact with students. Take your list of students and call each one. If your contact list is under 50 students, you can easily call them all personally over the course of a couple weeks (just contact five a day for ten days). If you have more students, get your leaders to help. Encourage your leaders to contact those students to whom they are connected. Build a culture of your students making contact with friends. Even leaving a message for a student/family is a great open line of connection. Texting is also fine and so are mail or emails. In fact, it might be good to do a little of each. Pull in a team to help you personally send a handwritten invitation to each student in your group. What do you say when you contact students? Here are some thoughts to get conversation for both highly connected students and fringe kids: invite them to come, thank them for being a part of the ministry, ask questions, be interested in them, let them know about the kick-off, find out when they begin school, find out their schedule, see if they are working somewhere this fall, let them know about the fall retreat, encourage them to attend, thank them for talking with you.
It is always easiest to have something to invite people to, but the real work of contact is the personal connection. Ask a couple open-ended questions, open the door and listen. [READ: Ministry is a contact sport]
Pray For Students
August is a great time to renew your prayer focus for students. Student Ministry isn’t easy for leaders or for the church. There is hurt, business, hollowness, additions, self-esteem issues, family troubles, depression, and the list goes on and on. Students are going through a ton of stuff. Additionally, we need prayer for wisdom and resources, and for our churches to become engaged in serving in student ministry. Psalm 34 says that God’s ears are attentive to the cry of the righteous. We need to cry out to God on behalf of the next generation. Student ministry leaders need to lead the way in praying for the students and the ministry. Develop a personal prayer plan. Invite the church to pray. Print the initials of students on a prayer calendar in the church bulletin. Teach the students how to pray and spend time praying in your ministry meetings. Focus on prayer and trust God this fall.
Brush Up Your Delegation Skills
What can you pass on to others in your ministry? You need a team to help the ministry grow. It’s not that you just don’t want to do the work. It’s that you can only do so much. Part of your role as a ministry leader is helping the church use its gifts to reach the next generation. Ministry leaders must become really comfortable inviting others to help them and then passing off some of the load and work of ministry. One simple idea is to pass off social media updates and connections. Find a leader in your group or church who can help you. Another thing you could delegate is the administration for a particular event or trip. Sample Volunteer Event Administrator Role | 44 Things Youth Workers Might Delegate
Try Something New
It’s always good to have a new idea. What is new this year for your student ministry? For sure you need a kickoff event that your students can invite friends to attend. If you haven’t done that before, now is a good time. Maybe you want to attend a new retreat or conference this year. Maybe you want to start incorporating worship in your meeting times. Maybe it’s a new meeting time slot or new ways to involve adults in the ministry. Try a new t-shirt design or logo for the ministry. Go ahead and try something new – August is a great time to implement it. READ: 21 Fall Planning Ideas | 52 New Ministry Ideas | Harvest Conference Dates For This School Year
Share Your Vision With Everyone
Vision is something you share on a regular basis, as you are doing ministry. But August is a good time to officially make sure people are reminded of the goal of student ministry. Include something in your church publication about the vision and scope of student ministry. Write about it in an email to your students and families. Share something concrete and specific on a Sunday morning in August. Meet with your pastor to engage in some conversation and debriefing: How has the last year been? What would you like to see happen over this year? Is what we are doing working? How can it be improved? Make sure the vision stays out in the open! Five Ways Sr. Pastors Make A Difference In Youth Ministry | Get Your Vision from the Clouds to the Calendar
Narrow Your Focus
There’s a good chance you are doing too much in your student ministry. August is a good time to assess and focus. What makes the most impact? What seems to be doing the most good in helping to transform students and grow them in faith? Students need helpful holy teaching, long term loving adults, and meaningful ministry opportunities. If we can narrow our focus to work on the basics, we may actually accomplish more in the long run.
Recruit and Equip Volunteers
I don’t know why this is so difficult, but I know it is. If you are a paid youth worker, you should be spending 25% of your time working with adults – recruiting and equipping. Too often, student ministry leaders think they are supposed to just hang out with the kids. The reality is, it’s your job to help the church raise up the next generation of disciples. This takes work but doing a little bit each month helps. If you are a volunteer worker, work with your pastor to build a team. Either way, you must have a team of people to have an effective long-haul ministry.
August is a good time to invite others to participate in ministry with you. The best way is through personal invitation. Here are a couple resources: The most natural way to get volunteers | Ten Ways To Give Away Student Ministry Leadership | 12 Ways To Delegate Prayer
This month is the perfect time to equip and encourage your student ministry team, your Sunday morning student leadership team and others who volunteer in your ministry.
HERE’S A RESOURCE TO HELP YOU…
A few years back, I recorded these youth worker training sessions and they are still available. These short videos are now available and are perfect for training and equipping your team. If you’ve been looking for a reason to gather your team and meet together, this could be it! The four ten-minute videos each cover a topic to spur discussion. We have also included discussion questions and action steps. You will have immediate online access to the videos, the bonus videos and the discussion questions.
Don’t miss this great opportunity to motivate your ministry and your team with these student ministry topics:
- Helping To Stir The Hearts Of Students
- Entering The Lives Of Students Like Jesus Did
- Partnership With Others To Transform Student’s Lives
- Raising The Expectation For Maximum Impact.
For about the cost of taking two or three students out for pizza, you can purchase this series, GETTING AND KEEPING STUDENTS CONNECTED TO YOUR MINISTRY.
FREE VIDEO: THREE WAYS TO DEVELOP YOUR STUDENT MINISTRY LEADERSHIP TEAM