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Youth Ministry event planning, like it or not, is one of the major tasks of a youth minister, and one that requires such balance. If you plan too many events, parents start to complain, you spend more time away from home than you would like, and you may lose sight of your goals. However, if you plan events far and few in between, then parents start to complain, you may get questioned about how well you’re doing your job, and you may lose sight of your goals. It’s safe to say we have to find a middle ground when it comes to planning events for our students.
One of the greatest dilemmas of student ministry is trying to determine which event should take presence over another. Sometimes it feels like there are a thousand options to choose from, and you want to do every single one of them. However, not every option is worth doing, nor does it accomplish our overall goal of trying to develop disciples for Jesus Christ.
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The main reason why we develop a purpose statement is so we can stay focused on the task Christ has given us. If an event doesn’t accomplish that, but another one does, then you need to make room for the event that aligns with your ministries vision.
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I break up ministry into four pillars: Fellowship, Discipleship, Worship, and Missions. Sometimes there are events that cross over with each other, i.e. you go to a Hillsong concert, which accomplishes fellowship and worship. However, sometimes we focus too much on one pillar, and wonder why all are kids want to do is throw slime at each other? If you’re doing too many events that are focusing on one particular pillar, then you may need to say no to it and let another event come first.
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There’s always a cost when it comes to an event. Whether the cost is money or time, we need to be mindful of how much we’re asking our students to spend. At the same time, we need to be mindful of how much time we are taking away from our families. If you have the opportunity to participate in three events in one month, you may need to say no to one or two of those events to make sure you have spent enough time with your family.
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I mentioned it earlier, but there are some events that can crossover with each other, and make a greater impact than doing one individual event. For example, last year a few of our local churches put together a joint Disciple Now weekend. We planned to do a kickoff for the weekend on Thursday, but a concert was coming to town that same day with multiple mega bands. So we decided to let the concert be our kickoff party and everyone had a blast. Don’t be afraid to combine events, and don’t be afraid to allow your events to look different than the way you planned.
In the end, these are just starter questions to get you thinking about your event planning. Sometimes we plan events to fill in the calendar, or we partake in every event that comes to town, without giving them much though. If we don’t think about the purpose of each event, weigh the pros and cons, or don’t evaluate them at the end, our ministries can potentially cause more harm than good to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What other questions do you think we should ask ourselves when we plan an event?