Planning: Why Bother?

student ministry planning“I tried making an annual plan for my youth group, once…”

So what's the big deal about planning? Things never quite happen like you expect, so maybe it doesn't seem worth the effort. And life + youth group is already crazy–why add one more thing to the to-do list?

A truly effective plan for youth ministry doesn't just take up time. It helps you save time and make the most out of the limited time that you do have. In fact, effective planning should be front and center in every youth ministry.

1000's of Ideas
Right now you can run into any Christian bookstore, lay down $20, and walk away with hundreds if not thousands of youth ministry ideas in your hands. Is that a good things?

In the end, it might not be. We all love sifting through ideas and looking for the good stuff–it's important to always learn & try new things. But what happens when we're driven by ideas more than vision?

It's easy to let happen. Instead of running after that God-inspired vision for ministry, uniquely fit to the church and community we minister in to reach and disciple students, we're just scrambling for something to do this week.

Ideas are helpful, but we need to be driven by vision. And that takes planning.
computer software stores

Jesus lived purposefully, on purpose, while constantly staying connected with the Father. He knew where He was headed, and He was constantly praying and listening to the Father for direction for the future.

To make the most of our short time on earth, we should be planners, too. That doesn't mean we need to figure out our 30 year goal, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Plans change as we learn, adapt and grow, but pro-active planning keeps us focused and at the top of our game.

Leading purposefully is the only way we can make the most of the unique opportunities we have as youth pastors. And the “hard work” of planning always pays off.


Nathaniel Dame is the president and founder of Called to Youth Ministry, and he leads a new online training opportunity for youth pastors titled Creating a Movement of Student Discipleship.

During this unique small-group experience, youth pastors learn how to lead

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on purpose, make the most out of every discipleship opportunity, and develop a committed, engaged adult leadership team.

A new session starts soon–register by August 6th for the best rate. To learn more visit or email

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