Phew! Now you can look back on kettles and Christmas decorations as a not-so-distant memory and feel relief in the work being done while also missing that time of year. Then here goes Jesse with some encouragement to accomplish something that I don’t have time to do anyway. Hopefully these blogs are not a drag on your spirit but an encouragement…however it is because of lack of time that I’m writing today. Quick question: What are you and your youth ministry doing in March? Or how about June? If you were asked for a calendar of how far you have planned do far; would you even make it to the summer months? The reason I ask is because now is the time to be doing just that. When the year is fresh, new ideas can be developed and you might not be in the complete swing of things just yet. Now my example was on a big scale but my challenge is to take every moment seriously and develop strategies for practical productivity.
The best way I have ever heard the simple ‘plan ahead’ mantra was in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Basically he said (I’m paraphrasing) ‘When budgeting, don’t be suprised by what can be expected. Christmas comes every year so plan for it and you won’t hit November worrying about if you’ll have the money to make ti through.’ Expect what can be expected. Youth Councils is every year. How many weeks do you have from now til then to get whatever you need ready? Spring Break happens every year. Is your youth ministry taking a break during that week or will you have something for those kids who won’t be going on a vacation? EQUIP Conference happens every year…will you be registered on time and prepared? (pre-con is Steve Carter BTW, soo excited) Work on getting a schedule for 6 months or more in advance. It can change (and probably will) but having a plan helps to give you direction and allows other who are viewing your ministry to decipher that direction. It will also help with volunteer recruitment. Who are the best volunteers? Usually active parents or committed Corps adults. Guess what? Your kids schools, PTA boards & local entities are already working on their schedule for next fall and vying for their volunteer hours and attention. If you don’t plan now, they won’t have any time left to volunteer for your ministries.
I promised a small scale challenge as well. Start with this week. Get a notebook and log your ‘in-office’ time. At the end of the week, see where you are most productive, when you get the most done and start to make a weekly personal calendar. In doing this, you will recognize some things about yourself you might not have recognized before but it will alow you to maximize your abilities by putting the most difficult tasks at the right time. It will also give you firsthand knowledge of your schedule so you can have an easy answer when a parent/CO/volunteer ask if you can talk. I’m not advocating for schedule OCD but having a good grasp on your own time will do wonders for future planning and will communicate to others that you know what you are doing as well as where you are going. Expect what can be expected. Everyone is going to deal with upset parents or congregation members from time to time. Don’t be suprised by it- expect it and think now on what you would say in difficult situations. Thoughtful responses in a volatile moment can be very disarming and show that you care for those involved because you gave it your time and thought before it was ‘necessary’.
If you will do those things, I would love to hear if they worked for you and if so…how so? Maybe you will come up with a planning strategy that will help someone else. So let’s go and start planning with purpose.