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How to Plan Your Year In Youth Ministry

Create a strategy to make your next year in your youth ministry the best one yet. Use four key filters to shape your strategy for success.

You probably have this rhythm down to a science . . .

As soon as one Sunday is over, you start all over to make the next Sunday happen. 

Week in, week out.
Messy game after messy game.
Parent email after parent email.
Last-minute slide change after last-minute slide change.

If you zoom out even more, it probably feels like you were at this point in the year just a moment ago. Looking through the summer to the fall and wondering: What am I going to do?! How can I make this next year count?

If you’re feeling stuck, you’re not alone. We’ve all been stuck in this cycle, struggling to get momentum. Why? 

Because good intentions without an intentional strategy won’t get anyone very far. 

Creating a strategy energizes an entire ministry. It gives purpose to every event, every gathering. It centers your ministry around an approach that makes the things that matter most, matter most. We define strategy as a “plan of action with an end in mind.”

Creating a strategy starts with asking: 

  • What do we want to accomplish in a kid or student’s life? 
  • What are the action steps needed to make that happen? 

Crystal Chiang offers four filters in our free planning your year resource to help you plan with strategy in mind. 

Complement, Don’t Compete

Plan with your school and community calendars in mind. By thinking outside your ministry, you’ll end up creating natural intersections between family life and church life. Too often, you can get caught up in competetion between school, church, and community events. When you aim to compliment, not compete—you’ll communicate to families how much you care about their lives between Sundays, and create a better chance for everyone to engage with the events you offer. 

Create Steps, Not Programs 

When you build a strategic event strategy, you’ll maximize the impact events have on students and minimize the stress of event planning your staff experiences. Events might be most fun we can have in ministry. But more often than not, we craft high energy events without a purpose in mind for how they serve the bigger picture of the year. Simply put—we can spend so much time, energy, and money on something that doesn’t really move the needle when it comes to building a consistent discipleship strategy for our students. Instead, we can craft our events to build momentum and play a role in the bigger picture of the year.

Recycle What Matters Most

Create a teaching rhythm that prioritizes the things your students need to hear the most. Everything the Bible says is important. But since our best calculations tell us you’ll only have 30-40 hours with your kids and students each year, you won’t be able to teach every kid every thing every year. Having a strategy for the next year—maybe even the next few years—will help ensure you teach your students the most critical things while you have their attention. At Orange, we give our XP3 Middle School and High School curriculum partners a 3-year plan detailing everything that a middle schooler or high school might need to hear. Then, we give you every series to accompany that plan.

Re-Engage Parents And Volunteers.

Align and energize the people surrounding your ministry in a direction that helps influence the faith and future of a student. Parenting is hard. Harder, dare we say, than planning out a strategic church calendar year. Parents need others to come alongside them to encourage, educate, and believe in them. They need someone to remind them that what they do matters and God chose them to do this.

Let’s be real. Coming up with a strategy for an entire year can feel daunting—especially when at the same time, you have to hold that strategy loosely and be prepared to pivot when things don’t go according to plan. (But you’re a pro at that already, right?!) 

Plan Your Year With Us

Get started planning your year with a FREE plan your year training. With this video, you can plan your entire ministry year with strategy in mind!

Most importantly, you’ll leave with an aligned plan across your entire family ministry, start casting vision for the year, and have the confidence in your plan to lead a kid or teenager into a growing relationship with Jesus.

We hope this resource provides clear and easy steps to making this next year the easiest win your ministry has ever experienced. Because we believe being strategic—having a plan with a clear end in mind—means your curriculum, events, parents, and volunteers will all work seamlessly together to lead the kids and students in your church family toward a growing relationship with Jesus. 

Download the complete training today!

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