Let’s hang some meat on yesterday’s post, Making Youth Ministry More Programmatic, Again.
Before you start going through old clip art files and reprinting Run the Bases to post on the wall in your youth room, let’s get a quick rundown of things that’ll get you going the right direction. (That’s a Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry reference for readers under 30.)
- Start with ethnography. I’ve got no problem with a felt needs assessment. But don’t forget that spending a couple weeks digging into the actual needs of your community will help you lead programs people actually need versus just starting stuff you think will work. Let’s not get all excited and go buy something at Wal-Mart. Instead, do things the right way.
- Do a resource assessment. Any MBA in your church can help you create a template for doing this. You need to know what you actually have available before you start creating programs. Human resources, physical plant, volunteer capacity, political climate, financial capacity.
- Do a skills and/or strength evaluation. I don’t think these things are end all, be all of life. But if you start a program and no one in your ministry is passionate and/or has the skills to make it happen, you aren’t going to win. These are a dime a dozen and are all about the same, pick one and get your team evaluated. If nothing else they help give you some language to talk.
- Get outside input. Don’t be a dummy. Your church needs outside help. Have legit conversations with area ministries so that you’re complimenting and completing and not competing. Don’t be shy about hiring a consultant. Spending a few thousand dollars not making a mistake is well worth it if you consider the tens or hundreds of thousands you are about to spend. You wouldn’t add a wing to your building without an architect, so bring in a consultant to help you build a program that’ll last.
- Set a timeline to act. All of this planning and evaluating attracts a certain type of personality. These are typically people who love this sort of thing and are happy to let it go on for a long time. Set a realistic timeline to get all this done as well as a firm deadline for when this new stuff will begin. (Starting in January for stuff that’ll start in September is a great timeline.)
Tomorrow, I’ll share a few program ideas I’ve got kicking around this old brain of mine. Hopefully, that’ll start crowd-sourcing a bunch of ideas that’ll make a big difference.
Youth ministry experts! What’s missing from my getting started reprograming plan?