It is kickoff season and we should start the school year off with a BANG, so much noise that makes a sound louder than a school bell. Whatever your programming looks like during the summer, the MUCH anticipated beginning of the school year is upon us. It’s the calendar killer yet the connection builder, mixture of oil and water if you are not careful.
Here’s a few thoughts on how to navigate the next few weeks we care, caution, excitement, without killing yourself in the process.
1. Plan Ahead (& Plan What’s Next)
That’s the beauty of a BIG kickoff. Hopefully you have planned it out months ago. You are probably already in the middle of promoting it. Go BIG! Create a giant rice krispie treat and give it away (I DARE YOU!). I’ve been there, where I put so many of my eggs in the basket of 1 GIANT event. I plan it top to bottom, inside out, and then execute it. If I’m not careful, I miss out on the What’s Next piece.
In the fall, my ministry context is the highest attended part of the school year. I have learned that planning a What’s Next is just as important. The Big event will help to showcase Who you are. The What’s Next part gives them an action step of… well… What’s Next.
Crush your BIG event! Draw in students and map out a clear NEXT STEP for them.
This is a challenging one for me. I get some amped up for the start of the school year, I forget to stop and rest. To take some me time. Some people excel that this one, I might not be the model candidate for sucess, however I see the value in it. The longer I spend in ministry, the idea of caring for yourself (and family) is vital for long term health.
Find a hobby. Prioritize your quiet time. Read a book, draw, or nap. I want to see you at the end of this school year, so don’t forget to care for yourself.
3. Slime TIME! Make some Memories
Do you remember that one time… where you took the picture of the thing. Chances are you have pictures or posters all over your office area. Celebrate the HERE & NOW!
Slime is so popular right now, Maximize on it! Slime or not, the point is to make a memory that will stick. Capture the photo, then celebrate it. I love showing other staff and leaders the moments I get to be part of with middle school students.
When you make a memory, you REMEMBER the fun times. You see the faces of students. In this busy season, you might fight with temptation to get to the NEXT thing before you had a chance to process the here and now. Stop and capture a photo. Print it out (who does that anymore?) or make it the wallpaper on your laptop. Share it with others. Stop and Notice the faces!
4. Files… Uh What?
As you work on your fall events, create a healthy file structure now. You might be trying everything to keep your head above water right now, and this might seem like the furthest thing you could be working on. However, hang with me on this one… look at this:
Next year - chances are you will repeat your events, right? So next year, you will know where to find all of your files. The trying to stay afloat right now, might be challenging to think this way. But next year you will thank yourself that you put some structure in place.
My team works with Google Drive. There are different things out there, but I’d encourage you to keep clean files. This will also help you to grow your team, by easily being able to share documents and spreadsheets as your staff or volunteer leadership team grows.
5. Don’t Miss What God is doing
Notice God in THIS season. He has called you to be where you are. Live up to that calling! I wrote this post to give some encourage, some thoughts on how to care for yourself. I want to see you make it through this year!
God has placed you with these students for a reason. Give God all the glory about what is going to happen this school year.
Jay Reynold ...Did you know I was in the Army? That’s a running joke around my friends, but really I was in the Army. I’m Jay Reynolds the Middle School Pastor at Hope Community Church in Raleigh, NC. I might draw your dog, paint a bird, or build a chair to sit in while I’m fishing. I try to make the most out of life with my wife and family.