It never occurred to me what would happen if I couldn’t attend youth ministry one night because of an emergency. Â I had always made plans for when I went out on vacation; however, what would happen if I got sick or my family needed me. Â I was finally put in that situation during the time of my wife’s pregnancy with our son Matthew. Â I not only had to plan for the dates I thought I would be out, but just in case our son had come early. Â I had to answer the question:
WHAT’S THE BACK UP PLAN?Â
In youth ministry you need a back up plan because it will help you prepare for times when:
- You are sick
- Something happens in the community
- The church has a big announcement
- Weather disruptions
- Family Emergencies
Your team, parents, and teens depend on your back up plan, because it gives them stability in moments of change. Â If there isn’t certainty in what to do, anything can and will happen. Â To build a successful back up plan you need to:
- MAKE IT SIMPLE: If the power went out, leaders didn’t show up or your message got magically erased what could you simply do with the students. Â For us the answer is FORMÂ SMALL GROUPSÂ thatÂ pray together, share life together and pray for one another. Â This is already at the core of what we do in our ministry. Â If you keep your plan simple and it stems from the foundation of your ministry leaders will have an easier time adapting to the sudden change an emergency will bring.
- COMMUNICATE IT TO EVERYONE: Â Make sure everyone on your team knows what to do. Â That means everyone knows who is leading the ship in your absence, and what they need to do if they are in charge. Â Provide an accessible document, cover this in leadership meetings and constantly grow leaders. Â Great communication leads to effective preparation.
- PRACTICE IT:Â You need to practice your backup plan so that people get a feel for what it looks like. Â Great times to practice a backup plan are in the summer, during a weekend you know that there will be competition (i.e. Sunday after Thanksgiving) or when you plan to go away. Â This way you can troubleshoot any errors in the plan.
No one likes to think that they need a back up plan because it can mean a drop in excellence. Â But, the best youth ministries are the ones that prepare for moments that may never come. Â Your ministry should not be a program, it needs to be a movement. Â Make sure it can move with your life, your teens and your community’s.
What does your back up plan look like?
Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)