The first reason is it helps you achieve your vision. Before we really dig into calendaring I want to ask you, “What is your vision for your ministry?,” because you should have one. If you have a vision for where you want to go with your ministry and where you want your students to be, then I believe it helps you achieve that vision through planning out the whole year. Every event, every Bible study, everything you do in ministry should be intentionally connected to achieving the goal of your vision.
The second reason a calendar is important is for time management. I know that for me, early on in my ministry time management was very difficult. I was a newly married man and so it was like, “I want to do ministry. I love ministry.” So I was going to do ministry and I had done ministry longer being single than I had being married. I would leave the house and my wife, I know, had to be sitting there thinking, “Where’s he going? I’m here.” But the truth is, I didn’t have any clue about time management. So if you have a calendar, it helps you know when you’re going to be gone even during the busy season (summer!). You know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel because you’ve got your schedule and it helps with that. For me, we now have three kids and the truth is it’s even more hectic than ever. Time management is so important in that area.
Of course, it not only helps with your family life but also work. You must find a good balance because you don’t want to be focused only on your family – not that they don’t come first. They do, which is why I listed them first, but you also don’t want to neglect what God has called you to do. He definitely called and ordained marriage and family first but he has called you to the ministry of the Gospel to serve in the role you’re in. So if that’s the case then you need to be willing and able to have a balance that’s healthy for both your family and for work and I believe that a calendar can help you with that.
The third reason that I want us to look at is it helps others to plan. When you have an annual calendar and you hand it to your youth parents or you get your teenagers to see what’s coming up, how awesome will that be when they say things like, “Oh wait, we already know in January or even last summer when we’re going to camp. We know when D-Now is. We know when all these other things are coming up. We know when we’re having fifth quarters. We know when we’re going bowling. We know when we’re going laser tagging. We even know when we’re having fundraisers if we do that.”
If you calendar it helps your parents and teenagers to be there at the events you plan. We all know that this world – especially the ministry world that we live in – is so busy, but that makes it even more important to have a plan and a schedule for when you’re doing things and putting things on. It’s hard for us sometimes because we think, “Oh, this will be great idea,” and we jump on it, but sometimes we don’t have a good turnout because it’s not planned. It’s kind of thrown together, but a good calendar helps us plan.
It helps others plan. Not just parents and teenagers, but it helps your church staff. It helps your church know when things are going on at your church or when you’re taking people off, and of course it helps your adults leaders as well. It’s important that your staff, especially your pastor, knows what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. The first thing I always did when I completed my yearly calendar was to take it to my pastor first. Every one of our staff members received it but I got it cleared it through the pastor first because you need to have good communication with your pastor and the rest of your staff.
It also helps you plan. I know that I said others, but it helps you be more detailed because once you distribute it there are going to be questions. There are going to be some things that come at you unexpectedly and it helps you be planned and organized as you proceed.
So we’ve looked at it helps you achieve your vision, because you should have a vision; it helps you with time management, balancing between family and work; and it helps others to plan as it causes you to be more detailed. But here’s the last thing I want to spend a little time on: it will help you budget for the next year. Often times youth ministers just put a number down. We’ll slap down a number and say, “Well, I can make this work. Whatever that number may be, large or small, we’ll live within that.” I want to encourage you, if you plan and have a calendar you can dream a little. You dream and you work through a budget and you put in clear figures and you write down every detail that you want to do. It helps you not only plan, but it helps you dream a little. You’re going in the budgeting process saying, “Here’s what I want, here’s what I need.” And if they say no to some of that, that’s okay because you know your needs. You say, “If you’re going to scratch something, here is what we really need. This is the nuts and bolts of our ministry.”
Be clear. Ask for what you want and ask for what you need and accept “no” as an answer. Sometimes the church just can’t support it but I believe that we so often don’t have a dream of where we want to go or what we want to do, so the committee is okay with just putting a number down. Create an Excel spread sheet or put a form together that will help you with a budget, and I can tell you that people will see things differently in your ministry. They’ll know that you’ve thought about it. They might ask your strategy or they might ask your vision and you get to explain and sell the vision, and that helps when you start increasing in numbers, financially as well as in students.
I hope that you will take time to calendar and make a solid budget because I believe those two together are so important in what we do in youth ministry, but so often we forget to do it. We don’t take the time to do it. To help you out, you’ll find a couple of sample budgets and calendars below in Excel form. You can download them and use them in any way you see fit because your State Board of Missions and YMLink want to invest, develop and resource you in any way we can. Thank you so much for being a part of UPLink Online. We appreciate you and we pray for blessings on your ministry.
Budgeting and Calendaring