In about 2 weeks we’ll be kicking off the fall season for student ministry. I’m looking forward to seeing the students on a regular basis, starting a new message series and working with ministers I haven’t seen all summer. However, with 2 weeks until the first ministry night I’ve realized that there is still a bit to do on my check-list. I’m not too worried because I’ve been in this situation before and I know it’s not due to laziness or neglect. I just need to buckle down, focus on the tasks at hand and pass it over to God. Easier said then done and that’s because of the monsters we face in ministry, especially when planning an event or kicking off a new season of ministry. What are these monsters? And how do we combat them? Well this is what I suggest:
- Vanishing Volunteers – You get anxious because you need two more small group leaders, a worship leader, someone to order pizza; however, you can’t find or think of anyone to fill that hole. This for me was my number one monster, not having enough ministers for a certain program. How I combat the situation is through prayer. I know that seems obvious but seriously just ask God to calm those nerves. Ask Him to show you whether you need a new plan and then ask Him to send you more gifted ministers. There have been times where I’ve needed to alter a program because of a shortage of ministers and that’s okay, it actually took the program in a new and better direction. We have to remember that God knows what we need and He’ll give us what we can handle.
- Hidden Students – You fear that no students will show up, because you haven’t seen them all summer, your pastor may be reluctant to make an announcement, you don’t have all the right addresses, you just don’t know how anyone is going to hear about the ministry. Well, if you haven’t started, begin inviting students. I use to look at the first day of program as the day where every single student in the community had to be there or else by January no one was going to come anymore. With that attitude that can actually happen. I need to remind myself that we are constantly inviting students whether it’s week 2 of a series or 3 weeks left in the season, it’s essential to continuously reach out.
- Saying It All – You are overwhelmed by the games, activities, messages and curriculum you have to produce for a whole year of programming. What are you going to do in week 25? Who is going to produce the memory verse cards on week 19? It almost seems like you have to rewrite the entire bible but make it better. If you feel like you are writing and producing it all, let me remind you about outsourcing. Go to bluefish.tv, simplyyouthministry.com, ym360.com, etc. There are so many great men and women who have been there and done that, let them take care of the work load. Take your time to produce your own curriculum, in fact don’t worry about producing your own curriculum because whether or not you do that doesn’t determine how successful you are as a minister. Our goal is to bring students to Christ, not fill their heads with theology. Play to your gifts.
I know what I’m offering isn’t rocket science, but I don’t think most ministers need a revelation, they just need a reminder. So in short remember God is in control, He’ll give you what you need and can handle, there are others out there willing to help you and your ministry is meant to continuosly grow.
I would ask that other veterans offer their insight and advice to those who are stressing about the next season in ministry, so that we can all be in this together.