by Matt Vaughan

Matt is the founding director of Ministry Leadership Initiative (MLI), a non-profit training organization in Kansas City. MLI has served churches and developed leaders in the Midwest. Through this strategic partnership, MLI and CYMT will offer multiple tiers of educational and training support to youth and children’s ministry leaders in churches, camps, and other organizations throughout the United States.

What’s next on your youth ministry to-do list?

Are you working on summer camp, a mission project, or perhaps a late-summer VBS? Maybe you’re thinking about the fall semester and the volunteers you’ll need.

We all work differently, right? I was curious about what others are doing in their ministry settings, so I asked four alumni from our MLI certificate program (a CYMT partner ministry) the same question. What’s next on their list? Here’s how they responded:

  • Baylee said, “I’ve got our back-to-school party on the calendar and will be finalizing the details soon. We’ve been promoting our fall retreat and we even opened up sign-ups too! I’m also praying about the topics and Scripture themes we’ll teach in our programming this fall.”
  • Jake said, “At this point, our fall events dates are set and I’m finalizing my teaching calendar for the semester. I’ll send out a fall calendar and start promoting the first fall events within the next few weeks!”
  • Emilyjane said, “Once we hit July, we’ve wrapped up our Mission Trip and VBS, so it’s time to plan for the next school year! I’m mapping out curriculum from August through Easter, planning our Welcome Weekend for new middle schoolers, and prepping for confirmation. I’m also catching up with college kids who are home for the summer.”
  • Ed said, “Our team is having a visioning session in a few weeks. Together, we’ll plan the calendar for the year and map out our big events and rhythm for the year. I’ve already planned our back-to-school event, so we’ll publicize that as well.”

What did you notice about their lists? I realized they all mentioned events that are at least two months away. All of them are promoting their back-to-school events. One of them already is taking registrations for her fall retreat. And, they are thinking about their teaching and curriculum plans for the fall.

Most importantly, they aren’t looking at summer events.

As Emilyjane noted, she’s wrapping up her mission trip and VBS events, so “it’s time to plan for the next school year!”

Consider using the summer months as a springboard for fall. Here are a few things we’d recommend:

  • Volunteers! Volunteer recruitment, screening, and training is actually a year-round activity in many ministry settings, but it’s really important to have these leaders in place before the fall semester starts.
  • Curriculum! What curriculum are you using, and who needs to be trained? What supplies will you need in your classroom, for youth group, or in the children’s ministry spaces?
  • Event Planning! Do you have your big events on the calendar? Think about Confirmation, fundraisers, fall retreat, and other big, one-time events. Don’t forget to check the school, church, and other ministry-related calendars to avoid conflicts!
  • Take Care of YOU. Be sure to avoid planning back-to-back events that could create burnout. Think about your needs and any time off you’ll take. Just as important – who else can you empower to help lead?

Your ministry will run more smoothly when you’re ready for the next big thing. Use the summer months to get ready, and follow Ed’s lead by including others in the planning process.

Do you need any help? Our teams at CYMT and MLI help ministry partners like Baylee, Jake, Emilyjane, and Ed succeed in ministry. We’d be honored to walk alongside you as well!

The MLI certificate program is a partner ministry of the Center for Youth Ministry Training. More information is available online.