1. Pray.- There is a chance that while summer is an exciting time for most people it can be a hectic and crazy for you and I as student pastors. That is why I think this time of prayer is so important. For one it is relaxing and calming and helps you to unwind a little bit from your recent schedule. Take some time to thank God for His many blessings and all the work He did in and through your students during the summer. But then as you do that begin to also pray for the road ahead. Ask God to give you a clear vision for what He wants to do in your ministry for the road ahead. Pray that the work would continue, that your students would realize that the work they did in the summer can happen during the school year as well, and that they would be strengthened and emboldened to do that work. Then also pray for God to show you what role He would have you to play in that work.
2. Take Inventory Of Your Youth Ministry resources.- You need to know where you stand on your inventory of resources from your budget to candy. This will give you an idea of where you stand as you go forward. Now this may seem a little worldly but it is part of the job and having this part of our career organized will often make life a little easier. But I also encourage you to think of what resources might make your job easier and allow you to focus on things that are more important. For example, how many times this school year were you not able to spend time with your students before your midweek service because you were running around finishing up prep for games, or writing your sermon for the night? You may want to look into a subscription that would provide these things for you so that you can focus on getting to know your students more and making sure new students feel welcome. This does not make you less of a minister by not creating these things yourself but instead can make you a better one as you realize what should be of higher priority.
3. Make a calendar.- After you have prayed and taken inventory I encourage you to get a calendar and plan the year out. This could be done on a big wall calendar, a desktop calendar, or even in a day planner. As you do this I encourage you to plan out the sermon topic or series for every midweek service, all your events and their themes, and any trips, activities or service projects that you might want to do. Plus, along the way you can brainstorm and jot down other ideas and brainstorms that you have. This calendar is by no means set in stone but you would be amazed how much time and headache it saves you by only having to tweak things throughout the year instead of having to plan in the moment.
I hope that you truly did have a great summer, but remember that the summer coming to an end is only actually a beginning. We have a school year ahead filled with wonderful opportunities where God wants to use you and yours students to bring life change to others. And by taking these steps now I believe you will better see those opportunities and step up and take advantage of them when they come. Then I know you will see more fruit from your ministry than you ever have before.