Trying New Things


By Mark Eades

In Ecclesiastes 3 we read “there is a season for everything.” In youth ministry, these verses speak to us about whether we should be thinking about doing something brand new or redoing something tried and true. As you think through your ministry schedule for the upcoming year, here are several ideas to think about:

Be yourself, not somebody else. I often find myself believing that if I can just do what other youth pastors do I will have an awesome group. That belief will almost always fail. God has given you the group, the church, and the community where you are. Gather ideas from other sources, but adjust them to what you know would be best for your group.

Think outside the box, but not too far. You have a very unique view on the community where you live. You aren’t looking through a school teacher’s point of view or a coach’s point of view. You see a place where both God’s grace and truth must be heard.

I like to spend time meeting with local middle school principals when I can. Apparently, one of the scariest things that incoming 6th graders experience is the daunting task of opening their locker for the first time and remembering the combination. With this new information about my community and a Christ-centered perspective, I decided to try something new. We held a simple “locker practice” in the summer so new 6th graders could become more comfortable with lockers.

Be organized, but very flexible. It is important to come into each meeting, retreat, or trip with a plan of how it will go. God gives us the ability to plan ahead, and he is a part of that planning. But in the moment God can and does awesome things that don’t match our careful plans! Be ready – but be ready to change too.

I like planning, so I have a spreadsheet of teaching lessons for the next 6-9 months. However, each week I try to communicate with a few of my leaders on what is best for us to hit on that week. Most of the time we follow the schedule, but occasionally we adjust based on new input.

There is a season for trying something new, and there is a season for continuing what works. Use ideas from others, but also be confident in God’s plan for you and where he planted you.

One last idea: don’t worry about never repeating a great idea because it’s not “new” anymore. We repeat major events every three years when we get new 6th-8th graders. We know they have been field-tested, but the students still get to enjoy a “new” activity.