This is a time of year where I have the tendency to say, “Just got to get through Christmas and I’ll be good in January.” I say the same thing going into the summer, but it’s not exactly a good habit to have. In student ministry we need to be conscience of when our seasons end and begin. During this particular season a lot of us go into sprint mode, make an immediate stop for a little Christmas break and then are expected to get up and continue at the same speed. What we need is an evaluation plan where you can examine your ministers, programs and processes so that you know what you are capable of doing. You might not be able to get to your previous pace right away, but with a plan you can get to it eventually. For each student ministry it’s going to be different, but nonetheless you need a plan. Here are the areas we plan to evaluate during this season and why:
- Students In Ministry: It’s easy to get students plugged into ministry at the very beginning of the year and right before our Children’s ministry hosts VBS…why? Because there’s hype surrounding this possibility. During those times it’s a mad rush to file paperwork, plug students in and get them to their trainings. The reason we are evaluating this process now is because we want to make sure we don’t lose students who couldn’t make the commitment during the mad rush. During this time there is some down time in a students schedules because sports haven’t picked up, school is taking a breather and again people are making New Year commitments.
- First Year Ministers: Have you ever found yourself in January saying, “What happened to that new minister?” The fall flies, and Christmas launches itself on us to the point where we lose focus of some very important things. One of those things are our new ministers. We need to check in with them, ask them, “How are you doing?”, “Are you feeling overwhelmed?”, “What can we do to empower you?” Seasoned ministers can take the stressful times, the newer ones need a reminder, “It’s okay to take a break.” or “To not know everything.” This is a great time of year to check-in with the new ministers and ask them to evaluate the first part of the year.
- Minister Recruitment: This point is like the first where recruiting adults is easy in the fall when there is a lot of hype, but during the year it’s something that’s put on the back burner. Again this is a time where people are looking to do something fresh and new and that’s where your ministry fits in. What we’re going to do is talk to adult small groups and invite members to consider serving in a student ministry. Here they’ve seen the benefit of iron sharpening iron and Christian fellowship, so it would only make sense to invite them to do that with a student.
It might seem like a lot, but I’m not saying we are reconstructing what we do, we’re just reflecting and evaluating. Any changes we make will be tweaks because the margin that we do have is precious for anything major that we might have to fix. I would invite you before Christmas blows by to take some time to focus on a few areas that might need your attention so that when January hits you aren’t hoping for summer to come sooner than expected.
What are some areas of ministry do you feel get neglected during this time of year?