I remember when I first started in youth ministry, I worked super hard on preparing my youth talk for the following week. I would study, prep, illustrate and flavor a 30-minute talk every day, all week long. Over time, I got more comfortable with the audience size (25 students) and took less time preparing. At some point, I would even let myself slide with a “Saturday Night” special before teaching youth group the next night. And if I’m honest, I may have winged it entirely at some point!

There is a direct correlation between the amount of message preparation and the size of your expected audience. This isn’t a bad thing – makes sense even when you step back from it a little bit. If you are speaking to 30 students, you’ll prepare an hour or two probably. If you’re speaking to a 100 people, I’d guess you would prepare for several hours. Speaking to a 1,000 and it would take you all week. Speaking to a stadium filled with people and you’ll work harder than ever and invest a ton of time to make sure you deliver in front of them.

So … what if you prepped this week like you were speaking to 1,000 people? What would your messages be like if you were preparing to like you were about to speak to hundreds instead of a handful? Your students are worth it. God’s Word would be more presented more clearly than ever. Your talk would be tighter, funnier, clearer and richer.

No more Saturday night specials!

JG

Phil (on our HSM team) is the captain of event planning. He posted the 5 Keys to Event Planning on his blog yesterday and thought you might benefit from the link. Here’s a couple of them, head there for the complete thought:

1. Know the purpose of the event
Why are you doing what you are doing? You need to figure this out early on. It may be an event that you’ve come up with yourself or one that you’re planning for another team member. If it’s the latter, ask! If it’s the former, check that there is a point and it isn’t simply something that you will find fun (though hopefully that will play at least a part). Write a mission statement, one sentence that sums up the event that can come back to to help you stay on track.
Even for a simple parent reception ask yourself what the intended outcome is…do you hope to meet parents yourself, present something to them, help them connect to each other, honor them as ministry partners or just take a moment to pray.
Never put an event on the calendar simply because it was there last year.

2. Know WHO the event is for
Parents, Students, Staff, Volunteers, Newcomers, well connected students, Christians, the whole youth group…
This is vital. If you plan a camp and invite non-Christians then your teaching must reflect that. If you want to run a discipleship retreat, figure out how to attract the specific demographic you’re after and tailor the retreat for them.

3. Work out a budget
Do this early on. Don’t fall into the mindset of “money doesn’t govern my ministry” because in many situations (like on the paper report you present to your senior pastor) it does!
Start with the big costs like Venue, Transportation and catering and then add in the next level of costs like a guest speaker etc.
Remember to ask questions when booking all of these, never assume anything – your budget will hate you for it. Check what you should tip a bus driver (I always ask to have the tip included in the contract), factor in room tax, check to see what A/V equipment is available and whether there is an extra charge. Don’t feel like you’re asking too many questions, remember, you are the client!

JG