It’s the most wonderful time of year — for ministries, that is! It’s back to school, which means that youth ministers around the country are preparing for an influx of fresh faces. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the start of the year, but we’ve been working with ministers for so long that we know the checklist of what you’ve got to do gets out of hand quickly. We’ve come up with this handy-dandy checklist of things to help you and your students ring in the ministry “new year” in style!
Get that ‘welcome back’ party sorted
Some ministries love going all out for a back-to-school bash, and to those guys, we salute you. We’re talking “My Super Sweet 16” level shindigs. If that’s your ministry, awesome for you (and also, can you help plan our kid’s birthday party?). But for most ministries, that sort of all-out celebration sets an expectation for newcomers that the youth group is the hottest club all the time.
Grab some pizza or get stuff together for a taco night. Dedicate time to team-building activities; these can help newbies feel more at ease in your ministry. Spend time building relationships with the new kids, and encourage your volunteers to do the same! Kids are more likely to return to a ministry if they feel accepted and supported by the adults around them.
Have your volunteer strategy in place
Speaking of volunteers… Don’t forget them! Back to school brings in a plethora of new volunteers, often parents of new students who want to get engaged or maybe even a nearby college student looking to serve in your ministry. Consider giving volunteers their own t-shirts. This helps them feel special and supported, and it also gives them fun swag. For your kids, it helps them ID new volunteers or helps the newbies get to know your regular volunteers!
Revamp your design for the year
There’s no need to be stuck with the same design you’ve had since 2003! Take time out this year to reevaluate your branding and what it says about your ministry. Here’s a little experiment to see if your branding still resonates with your youth group. Give out free shirts. See how many kids wear the shirts around. Kids LOVE free shirts, but if they’re not willing to wear the free design, it might be time for a facelift.
“But wait, we don’t have time to do this and run a ministry.” We know! That’s why, at Uth Stuph, we include free artwork in each order. We’ll get your stuff handled so you can focus on the ministry. Let us geek out about graphic design.