Here's to a New (School) Year: Three Things I'm Focusing On this School Year
As a kid, the start of a new school year was always a time of setting goals for myself. I would consider the serious aspect of school; such as academics and getting good grades, and the less serious side--like how I would dress and who I would sit with at lunch.
As a youth director, the start of a new school year is still very important to me. However, now it is less about planning my outfits, and more about what needs to happen in our student ministry. Today, I'd like to share with you three things I am focusing on in the upcoming school year.
1. Unity: This past school year, I noticed something in our youth group: the middle schoolers and the high schoolers were two completely different groups of students. I'm sure you're thinking, "Well...duh Karli." But, I am not just talking about the obvious differences in age and maturity. In our student ministry the middle school and high school students rarely ever talked. The high schoolers were constantly annoyed with the middle school students, and the middle school students acted like the high schoolers didn't even exist.
Houston, we have a problem. A big problem.
For most people, the solution to this problem would be to split up the students into two separate ministries. Unfortunately, we are not at a place where we can do that just yet. My solution? To do whatever I can to get these groups sharing and doing life together. (And liking each other!)
Over the past several months I have tried a few things to make this happen, and thankfully, I've seen success. This year, though, I plan to be a bit more intentional about it by creating mixed grade small groups (although some people might think that's crazy), encouraging mentorship, and creating strategic events that foster a sense of unity throughout our students.
2. Memorizing Scripture: I wrote a post a few weeks back on strategies to help your students memorize scripture. I mentioned in the post how this was something I did mostly for our middle schoolers. This year, however, I plan to get all of our students involved in scripture memorization.
I want my students to see the importance of the Word of God, as well as how hiding it in their hearts will prove to be beneficial to them. I've got a few ways I plan to do this (including the strategies shared in the post linked above!), so I will be sure to share them as I try them out!
3. Prayer: While this is last on this post, it is first in my heart.
I want my youth group to understand that prayer is essential, but more than anything, I want prayer to be the first thing I turn to as a leader.
Yes, I pray for my students. A lot. Now, though, I want it to be something that I am serious about. I want to cover my youth group in prayer. I want to pray for them one by one. I want to develop a prayer strategy.
To put it simply, I want to make going to God first and foremost in my leadership.
So, what are some other things I plan to focus on this school year that didn't make the list? Well, I'm glad you asked! (Okay, maybe you didn't ask. I'll tell you anyway!)
Recruiting volunteers while also celebrating the ones currently serving in our ministry.
Moving our Midweek space to a larger location in our church.
Simply enjoying my students and the opportunity that God has allowed me to minister to them.
What are some things you will focus on in the coming school year?
Whatever they may be, my hope is that you will have a successful year of growing, learning, and leading well.