6 Ways To Take Advantage Of The Fall

Jonny Radcliff
September 9th, 2019

I stepped outside my house at 5:30 AM – I felt it. 

I walked through Walmart – I smelled it. 

I put pumpkin into my coffee – I tasted it. 

What’s making my spidey senses tingle? FALL!

It’s here and it’s glorious. On a personal note, Fall is without a doubt my favorite season. I can break out the hoodies, zone out to football, chow down on pumpkin pie, and wear beanies without being looked down upon as another hipster millennial. 

On a ministry level, Fall is still my favorite season. Here’s why I love this time of year and you should too:

Calendar Synergy

Andy Stanley talks about calendaring strategic breaks. It may seem counterintuitive, but his argument is that a well-placed day off causes momentum. And my ministry is living proof that this is the case.

We take off the last two weeks of August. It gives our families the chance to focus on adjusting to the school year and gain some separation from their previous school year grade. But the best part of this move is that it keeps kids chomping at the bit for when we start up again. 

Then, once we kick off, kids are amped for the new year and instantly bought in. Ride the wave that the new school year naturally offers you.

Renewed Focus 

It’s like a New Year resolution every September! Summer trips are done, the weekly routine is cranking, and there are less obstacles to becoming bought in. 

Some youth leaders have told me that summer is the climax of their ministry. Every area is different. However, with my group, summer is a very scattered – sometimes lonely – time. Upon stepping foot on US soil, the kid that you had mixing cement with you in Mexico for a full week, may be gone for a whole month with his grandma in North Carolina. I’ve experienced little consistency.

The schoolyear has a natural way of keeping people local and grounded. Advantage: Student ministry.

New Students

Who doesn’t love moving new students into the ministry? Perhaps you do this in late spring or summer, but we do this September 1. Our incoming middle and high schoolers bring an excitement every year (Maybe your upperclassmen disagree, but that’s on them). 

Always use the Fall to make a great first impression with your fresh students. 

Kickoff Weirdness

Our first program back after the summer break is always memorable. Sure, sometimes this means a pancake breakfast with optional toppings of white asparagus, pickled cabbage, and a delicate clam sauce syrup. Yup, that happened.

But there could be normal stuff, too, like bashing each other with pool noodles, powdering each other with leggings filled with colored chalk, or jumping in a tub of wrestling jello and then in a pool of confetti. 

That sounded a lot more normal before I typed it out….

Regardless, having a high-energy, memorable kickoff can give you momentum for the rest of your Fall. Get creative. And try not to make anyone puke. Or don’t?

Program Tweaks

It’s time for a programmatic facelift! Redesign the guest card, order more signage, rethink the worship set, roll out a new discipleship plan – the possibilities are endless. 

This time also serves as a natural bridge to tag other capable leaders to take over a vital part of the ministry. Take some time to think what part of the schedule you can give away to another. 

The Greatest Challenge: TIME

This is often the time of year that requires the most hours of you. You have high standards. You want every kid looped in. You’re starting new things. You’re making it happen. 

The few weeks leading up to the beginning of the schoolyear are often more taxing than the actual madness itself. Odds are you’re in the thick of it. 

Maybe you feel like your tank is empty. Maybe you don’t have enough time with your family. Maybe you feel constantly pressed. 

 Keep going. 

Give yourself grace. 

Find 15 minutes to do nothing. 

Don’t guilt yourself about those 15 minutes. 

Choose relationships over programming. 

Get your crap done. 

Realize your identity is more weighted as a screwed up (but loved) kid of the King than the polished professional you want to be. 

Soak in Fall. It’s going to be great. 

Jonny Radcliff

Jonny Radcliff is the Student Ministry Director at Storehouse Church and the Philly Area Coordinator at National Network of Youth Ministries. He lives near Philly with his wife and the three little monsters that they rear together. His 10+ years of youth ministry have been spent in Indiana and Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Liberty University and Grace Theological Seminary.

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.