Summers go by quickly in the student ministry world and it seems they get shorter each year. As summer approaches its end, fall looms in the distance. You know the fall season will be busy. You know it’s a critical season as students return to school, regular schedules begin, and your ministry enters into a prime time for growth. Are you ready?
To truly take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of you this fall, there’s a lot of preparation that should be done early. “Early” as in now! Really, as in at the beginning of the summer — but if you haven’t started your fall preparation yet, don’t panic! Here’s a list of five things that you can begin working on today to help you take advantage of the opportunities that are quickly approaching.
1. Recruit leaders.
This is something that you should do year-around. To be a student pastor is to be a recruiter of leaders. It is one of the most important things that you do and the summer recruiting season is essential to a strong start in the fall.
2. Prepare your campus strategy.
What are you going to do this year to reach students on their campus? If your first thought in response to that question is “the schools in my area are closed,” it’s time to move on from excuses to thinking strategically about this incredibly important aspect of your ministry. There are many ways to get on a school campus and every way involves at least these two elements: a servant’s heart and building relationships with key faculty. It takes time to do both of those, but they will never be accomplished without clear strategy and effort.
Think strategically about your curriculum choice. It isn’t something that should be picked haphazardly. Your students will spend more discipleship time in the curriculum you choose this year than they will spend at camp, DiscipleNow, retreat, or any other event that you do. Make sure the curriculum you choose fits with your unique ministry strategy. Check out these great curriculum options as you think about this fall.
4. Event planning.
It’s not too early to think about next year’s events. Book locations, speakers, worship bands, establish themes and build your planning teams. Your events will play an important role in your overall strategy for the year and getting an early start will help you weave your events seamlessly into the rest of the ministry activity.
5. Set clear goals.
You need to shoot for something. When you have goals out in front of you it will help you build your background strategy and plan. Without goals, your plans don’t have any direction and there’s no way to evaluate effectiveness. Consider setting goals in the following areas: small group attendance, baptisms, event attendance, students involved in missions. Fall is a great time to begin your journey towards the goals that God has given you or this year.
Fall is right around the corner. I hope this list will help you have a strong start to one of the most important seasons in student ministry. This list is obviously not a comprehensive one. I would love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below with some of the things that you do in the summer in order to prepare for a great fall. I look forward to the conversation!
Ben Trueblood serves as the Director of Student Ministry for Lifeway Christian Resources and has served the local church as a student pastor for thirteen years.