Cohort Coach – Ministry Architects

Gearing up for the New School Year

Thomas Merton once said we tend to settle for very little. When gearing up for the new school year- do not let your youth, your volunteers, or your ministry settle for less that than what it can be.

If you are behind, there is time.

If you are short – on volunteers, plans, or consensus, there is hope.

If you are low – on communication, involvement, or energy, there is still a way to climb.

Do not let the ministry settle for less than what it can be.

  1. Set up the systems of success. Before you execute more ideas, address what is already happening in the ministry. Create a roster of youth. Create a calendar of events. Create a team of volunteers. Before starting more, take time to put systems in place.
  2. Communicate early and often with students and parents. If you are going to ask families to invest time, youth workers need to invest in families’ trust. Let parents know the ministry’s mission, values and events that are coming up. Address expectations, exceptions, and non-negotiables. For students, let them know what’s in store; how community will be created and why they matter as a part of the ministry.
  3. Have a plan. Not just your plan, but a community’s plan: A strategy for growth with each other and God. Christianity at its core is about relationships. Even if a one-man band has a tune, it doesn’t mean all who hear it will start dancing. Same goes for ministry ideas- even if it looks great in your mind, check it out with some folks before you implement. It will help create momentum or give you honest feedback.
  4. Invest in Your Climate Just like if you walk around all day in a parka, you are bound to get hot… the same applies to attitude and climate. If you are always hurried, your ministry will be hurried. If you are angry or frustrated, your ministry may very well reflect that without even realizing it. Model the student that you want to be: if you value friendliness, be friendly. If you want your ministry to be less serious, play. If you want to infuse sacredness into students, participate in spiritual practices
  1. Find your Spiritual Rhythm Having a rhythm for the week will allow a youth worker to balance what is important with what needs to be accomplished. While there very well may be things left undone, the important elements of prayer, study, tending relationships, and strategic systems will have time each week to be addressed. For information about a Rhythmic Week, check out the chapter in Mark DeVries’ book, Sustainable Youth Ministry.


Heading into the fall is always filled with hectic hope and long lists before the program launch. Before the fall begins, it is important to square the corners and start on the right foot… rested and ready to settle for nothing less than God’s goodness.


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