Four Tips for Future Planning


Yesterday evening before small groups, one of my students who is on the yearbook staff came into my office asking me if our student ministry would like to buy an advertisement to go in the year book!  I said that of course we could do that.  As I started filling out the information, I realized that the type of graphic I need for the year book should be something promoting summer programing with our youth, since they get yearbooks in May.  I couldn’t help but sigh. It seems like summer just ended, and now I do really need to be thinking ahead to next summer. There really is an art to making a summer plan that helps everyone grow in their faith, but not stressing the family (yours included) by having a crazy schedule.

Take a little ride with me in planning ahead:

Check the Rearview Mirror

Sit down and debrief from the previous season.  Go over every trip, small group, fellowship night, and ask the simple questions “What worked? What didn’t? What can we do next time?”  Log these and put it in a folder to review.  I recommend doing this sometime between August and October.

Check your Side Mirror

This is the time to look around at pinterest, other youth ministries, and of course The Youth Ministry Collective, and gather data on what you can do for next year.  Some events need items ordered or built, so this is the time to do it. Also, taking time to reserve spots for camps, figure out pricing and budget is right now. I recommend doing this sometime between October and December.

Check your Sunroof

The whole reason we do all these programs and events is to bring students closer to God. God is the one with the best game plan for this, so look up.  Seek Him in study and prayer.  Asking questions like, “What do our students need spiritually? Is there a theme scripture? What branding goes with what God is wanting to reveal to these students?” God is a God of order, so He will give you what you need to know!  I recommend doing this between November and January.

Check your Front Windshield

Begin looking ahead, make the calendar, design and order the t-shirts, make the registration forms and open registration.  Recruit students and leaders for the trips, small groups, and events. I recommend doing this between February and April.



Caroline has served in student ministry for almost 10 years, and is currently the Youth and Young Adult Minister at Destin United Methodist Church in Destin, FL and co-founder of WAVES Girls Event, a conference for girls ages 14-24. Getting a call into youth ministry at age 16 in Nashville, TN led to Caroline getting a degree in Youth and Family Ministry and a certificate through PREPARE/ENRICH for Premarital Counseling at Abilene Christian University in 2009. She got her start in full time student ministry at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, TX. Caroline loves to encourage students in their faith, and see them be lights in their community. Some things Caroline enjoys is time on the beach, reading, sushi, coffee, traveling and time with her friends and family. You can follower her on her blog, called “Big Hare & Big Faith,”, or on Instagram and Twitter: @CarolineHare