(From my small church youth pastor friend, Brent Parker, Small Church Ministry Architects Consultant and fellow Texan.)
I love the summers of youth ministry! I sprint into June, jumping right into summer camps, mission trips, and family vacations. The syncopated rhythm of summer keeps me bouncing from one thing to the next until the first week of August hits, my wife heads back to her coaching job, and I realize that I have a new school year staring me right in the face. Where did the summer break go? And why am I so tired? Better yet, how will I get up enough momentum to push into the hectic pace of the fall school calendar? After more than 15 years in ministry, I am all too familiar with this annual struggle to break out of the sporadic rhythm of summer while trying to ease into the more predictable flow of Sunday school and worship, Friday night football games, and weekly Bible study small groups that come each fall.
When trying to establish a rhythm in their craft, musicians often make use of an instrument called a metronome. Maybe you’ve used one before, or heard the tick-tock cadence which is put out by a bar as it moves back and forth at a perfect pace. A small piece of metal can be slid up or down the rocking bar to either increase or decrease the speed of the “beat”. This consistent sound provides the boundaries within which the creative musician can operate. While the rhythm of a musician, or a piece of music, may vary from one to the next, maintaining the chosen rhythm is essential to successfully completing the piece.
At Ministry Architects, we have created what we call the Rhythmic Week. This is a simple process of breaking each day into 3 parts: morning, afternoon, and evening. We encourage youth and children’s workers to assign each “block” of the week to a general purpose. For example, I mark Fridays and Saturdays as my days off. I mark Monday mornings as a time to write thank you notes, to fill out attendance records, and to send out my weekly Youth News. Fill in each block with those general tasks which need to be accomplished each week, leaving several blocks for flex time and family time, and there is your rhythmic week. Setting your ministry metronome now will help you to find your rhythm as you head into this school year.
Hit this link for a free copy of the Rhythmic Week Template: http://ymarchitects.com/137/samples