I've always enjoyed the fourth term. Sure, there is still the tiredness one feels from a busy year and programming can be a little disjointed as exam pressure hits and young people's attendance decreases while stress levels increase, yet for me, it was frequently the least stressful term of the year with no camps or major projects.
That doesn't mean however that it's not an important term. There are plenty of things to reflect on and do. Here are three suggestions:
Waiting until to start of a new year before settling on a leadership team causes a great deal of inconsistency and stress as the year gets underway. Talking to prospective leaders now has a number of advantages. People can come and check out the youth ministry first-hand now rather than waiting for things to start in February. It also allows them time to reflect over the summer months before finally committing to being involved.
This is also the time to have conversations with existing leaders about serving in the new year. Some may be reluctant to commit until next year but at least you'll know who you have on your team and who you might have when you finish the year.
The fourth term is a great time to start thinking about programme changes or additions for the new year. It allows you time to start sharing your thoughts and seeking feedback from church leaders, parents, youth leaders and the young people themselves. You can even try some one-offs to gauge interest and popularity without committing to a certain course of action.
Launching in with unexpected changes at the start of a new year is risky if they are not well received. It means starting off the new year on a bad footing. Far better to experiment and elicit feedback now and then fine-tune your plans for a positive start in 2020.
The fourth term is also a good time to be introspective and assess our own performance. What are the things we do well and need to keep focussing on? What should we consider delegating? A helpful motto is "Only do what only you can do!". If much of your time is spent doing tasks others could do, begin looking for people who can take on these responsibilities in the new year. What's tedious and draining for us might be inspiring and fulfilling for someone else.
A personal inventory can also include a time of reflecting on what areas we need to upskill in. On our website we have a list of 23 essential skills for youth ministry. Contact us if you'd like coaching in any of these skills.
Make the most of term four! If you pay heed to the above you'll be setting yourself up for a great start to 2020!