5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Programming

Chasity Opphile
July 29th, 2021

I think one thing that is obvious in student ministry today, compared to 5 or 10 years ago, is that students and families are so much busier! It’s so important that we make the most out of the valuable time we have with them. Here are a few ways to help make sure we are getting the most out of our programming

Less is More:

I think a lot of youth leaders, myself included, feel pressure to continuously offer more. More events, more programming, more trips, etc, but getting the most out of your programming doesn’t mean having the most programming. In this case, I think less is more. Take some time to evaluate your regular programming and figure out how you can get the most out of it. For example, our regular gathering happens on Sunday evenings, so we try to focus most of our energy on that and making it the best it can be without feeling the need to constantly add extra events. Don’t get me wrong, special events are a fantastic part of youth ministry, and we still do them, but we are very intentional about making sure what we do makes the most impact and that we aren’t doing too much. It’s important to evaluate the why behind each event and to not just fill the calendar with a bunch of things just for the sake of doing more. 

Make Discipleship a Priority:

We spend a whole lot of time in ministry making the fun happen, and while fun is a super important aspect to ministry with students, sometimes I think we spend so much time here in our planning that discipleship is sometimes an afterthought that we throw in around the fun and don’t always give it the adequate planning or programming time it should have. If you want to get the most out of your programming make sure you are balancing the fun with discipleship, in both your planning and in carrying out those plans. 

Go Small for a Bigger Impact:

One of the best ways to make the most out of your programming is to be intentional about building relationships. Having small groups as part of your regular programming is a great way to do that. Students who feel connected are more likely to stay connected. Building relationships with both adult leaders and other students is the best way to build that connection and small groups meet that need. Small groups can be built right into your weekly programming in lots of creative ways!

Involve Students in the Planning:

I find that I am way more likely to plan a youth night or a special event that will be the most meaningful, relevant, and fun if I have students involved in planning everything from regular weekly youth gatherings to special events to what goes on our social media. 

Take Advantage of Social Media:

Social media is a great tool for student ministry! Find ways to use it to keep your students connected even when you aren’t together in person, rather than using it just as an advertising tool. It is a great way to keep students connected in between gatherings. Look for ways to use it to disciple and encourage students as well as connecting with them in fun, interactive ways! 

Chasity Opphile

Chasity is the Student Ministry Coordinator at Christ UMC in Newcomerstown, Ohio, where she oversees Meta Student Ministries, a community wide, student led youth ministry. Chasity is most passionate about ensuring that students feel like they belong, are welcomed, loved and valued, fostering their leadership potential and empowering and equipping them to make a difference in the world through the life changing power of Jesus. She is also pretty passionate about hanging out with her awesome husband and family, mission work to Cuba, traveling, hiking, kayaking, all things Spanish and cooking.

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.