by Dr. Tom Vogel
The great curse of youth workers is disorganization. Nothing separates the men from the boys, in Christian work, like planning and organization. Activities and programs that are run properly show others that you as the leader care, you know what you are doing, you think that what you are doing is important, and you know that the people who are participating in the activity are important too. Conversely, a disorganized activity shows that you don’t care, you don’t know what you are doing, the activity is not important, and the people participating in the activity are not important. Nobody in their right mind wants to participate in a youth group that sends out those kinds of messages.
- Utilize the Six P’s of Success. Proper prior planning prevents poor performance. If something does not go right, look in the mirror to find out what went wrong. Good planning controls and anticipates every possible occurrence. Success is ordained long before the activity occurs; it is determined in the planning stage.
- Be Early. The leader should be early for every event. At a minimum, the youth leader should be ready 30 minutes before the kids arrive. This is essential for all activities. Sometimes, the leader is required on site many hours before an activity. To be late is an insult to every kid who has character and takes the time to be punctual.
- Start on Time. Get in the habit of starting on time. Train your young people that when you say 7:00 p.m., you don’t mean 7:01 p.m. If half your crowd is still late, leave them. You are teaching your youth group that their time means nothing to you. Nothing shows more lack of character and respect than a youth leader who is always late to everything that he does.
- Rehearse. Always rehearse your activity. Drive the route that you are going to take, at the same time that you will be doing it for real. Don’t leave anything to chance. Plan your restroom stops and fuel points. I have driven hundreds of miles, planning activities.
- Deputize. Put responsible adults or older teens in charge of different areas. Make sure that everyone understands his job and is doing it the right way. Constant supervision is necessary because even though someone else is doing the work, you are still responsible for its success or failure.
- Microplan. Think through your activity. Plan every little detail. Plan for alternate plans in case something does not happen as planned. Don’t overlook any detail. Write it down and put it into your file for that activity. Include all phone numbers, costs, mileage charts, etc. Don’t leave anything to chance.