For the last few years, the Ministries I have been apart of have traditionally released our Youth Group calendars three times a year; Fall Calender, Spring Calendar, and Summer Calendar. We had a pretty good set up of our fall and spring one’s this past year, but we changed it up in the summer, and learned a few lessons that I believe are helpful for other Youth Pastors Planning a Youth Group calendar.
1. Our Parents prefer the month view, not a list of events.
The fall 2012 Calendar style has proven to be a lot more user friendly than what we did for the Summer 2013 calendar. (by the way, you can purchase and fully customize the fall 2012 youth group calendar on the youthmin.org marketplace, expected to be back up within a few days!)
2. Everyone is going to have questions about events, don’t waste time/space on printed calendar, make blog posts on youth website or facebook events with detailed information.
The Fall calendar was blank on the back. It was also an 11×17 printed page that looked fantastic on the fridges, and was something every parent didn’t mind hanging in their kitchen. It looks clean and sharp, and people liked showing it off. The Summer calendar has a bunch of paragraphs on the backside having to explain the events in more detail. We’re doing Facebook events for all of these events regardless, but realizing the fall version of calendar communicates far better than what we did for the summer calendar.
3. It’s better to put out a calendar a week late than have inaccurate information a week early and all summer.
Our Summer Calendar went out a week late this year, but we also have accurate information due to some changes in the church calendar, as well as finalizing dates for our Summer fuse at specific host homes. Because we are taking Youth Group to three different houses, we needed the calendar to properly communicate where parents were taking their kids on a specific week. At the end of Summer, no one will remember getting the calendar a week late, but they would have remembered not knowing where Youth Group was going to be each week.
4. Ultimately, it’s a calendar, not a piece of art.
I’ve seen some amazing calendars, and I want to make the best looking calendars I can for our students, and to share with other Youth Pastors for their Youth Ministries. But the big thing I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter how cool a calendar (or really, anything you design in youth ministry) looks if it doesn’t accomplish the task of communicating what you need it to. I saw one calendar that looked sweet, had an amazing modern design and looked like a movie poster. But, the information was so small in the design that for me, it would have done no good. Make the information stand out, not the design.
Those are my four lessons about planning a youth group calendar. What has your experience taught you about calendars for youth ministry?
Almost two years ago, Ben felt a calling to start a new website for Youth Pastors, and after talking with his Brother about it for a few months, they launched YouthMin.org. Ben Runs and Manages YouthMin.org like it's a full time job, and loves connecting with Youth Pastors via the Facebook Community, but he is still a Full-Time Youth Pastor at Trinity Evangelical Church in North Reading, MA. He and his wife, Sarah, met while attending Liberty University, and have one Son together, commonly known as BEAR.