3 Program Changes To Think About For The Fall
The fall semester is pretty much like a second New Year in student ministry. Students are ending summer with summer school, sleeping in, Netflix, and Fortnite (or is it Apex now?). This is a great opportunity to be strategic in changes you want to implement within your student ministry. If you haven’t already, you should set some time aside to dream and set goals for your ministry. So when the fall comes, the changes you make will be in line with the goals for the upcoming school year.
Here are three “think about” areas that may be beneficial for your student ministry going into the fall. These are broad ideas, but areas that I always consider sharpening or making changes in when entering a new fall semester. Hopefully these are helpful and spark some creativity in thinking through the upcoming school year.
1. Parent Relationships
If you are like any student ministry in the world, you know the difficulty that comes with partnering with parents. You set up meetings with parents and only 5 parents show up. You send out weekly emails to parents and get 0 responses. Parent ministry is one of those difficult areas to tackle. With that said, we have to remember that student ministry is “family” ministry. Furthermore, if parent ministry has been difficult for you, it may be time for you to make some changes in how you minister to parents. This will take you analyzing what you are doing now and figure out what you need to get rid of. What are the “old couch things” in your ministry to parents? Is it dull email content, no value parent meetings, lack of communication, etc.? What needs to go? As youth workers, we always need to be looking for creative ways to communicate, resource, and minister better to parents in our student ministry. So the questions for you today are: How am I building parent relationships? Is my strategy effective? If not, what do I need to do to change so the strategy is effective?
2. Groups (Discipleship for Students)
We got into student ministry to see student’s encounter Jesus and grow in their relationship with Him (If not, maybe this isn’t for you). If we are being honest, most of us have put much more emphasis on programming and events to draw in numbers. This isn’t a bad thing because programming and events are a means to get students in a building to encounter Jesus. The issue comes when we neglect the discipleship/community aspect of student ministry. This upcoming school year may be a great time for you to take a look at your discipleship strategy for both students who regularly attend and students who don’t regularly attend church. Are students encountering Jesus? Are they growing in their understanding of Jesus? Are students putting their faith into action? These are questions you should seriously be considering when you are wondering if there needs to be change in your discipleship strategy.
3. Teens Serving Push
Student ministry should be a ministry that helps students take “next steps.” Some examples of this would be: A student who just made a decision to follow Jesus should now be baptized. Maybe this student isn’t serving. So, their next step would be serving on a team at your church. We want to help students flex their gifts. The way we help them do that is by serving the church. This goes beyond serving in your current youth ministry. We should be pushing students to serve the church as a whole. Some of these areas could include: The children’s ministry, guest services, parking lot team, production, worship team, or a set-up/ tear down team. The jobs are limitless. By pushing students to serve the church you will begin to see students thrive in using their gifts. They will also develop real adult relationships outside of a youth ministry context; which will greatly benefit them. Are your students serving? If not, maybe its time to be thinking through how you can change that this upcoming fall.
Again, these are broad ideas, but categories I use to evaluate my ministry going into the new school year. Change is never a bad thing. What you have been doing may have worked at one time. But leaders should always be analyzing and thinking through what is and what is not working to make changes that will strengthen their ministry.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.