Most student ministries have a few big events they do throughout the year. It may be a missions trip, camp, or a weekend long event. Whatever it may be, student pastors know that feeling we get after that huge event is over. We are pumped that God did great things in the hearts and lives of our students, but we are exhausted, worn out, and ready for a month-long vacation.
I am currently having that feeling. Our student ministry just finished up a weeklong event called Week 180. It was a six-night event packed with worship, Biblical teaching, food, and crazy water games! In a nutshell, it was like doing a week of camp just for our students. It was a great week and God blew me away with what He did with our students, but the past few days I have been exhausted. I have done big student ministry events before, but nothing that big. I am still learning, but here are a few things we need to do after a big student ministry event:
1. Take a day off. This one will not be hard to do, but you need to take a day off. The big event probably took you away from your family and caused you to put in more hours than normal so don’t feel bad about taking a day or two off. This will allow you to spend time with your family as well as recharge from the event. You’re probably spiritually exhausted as well, so take a day to spend time in God’s Word and set your mind on Him. Whatever you do, take a day off; you earned it!
2. Take notes. This is very important. My friend, Mitch Miller encouraged me last week to do this. You may want to start doing this during the big event, but you will want to take some notes. Write down what worked and did not work. Write down what you want to change next year or what things you want to leave the same. If you just keep this stuff in your head, you will probably forget it next week. After a big event, it’s good to take some time to just sit and thing about the event. After you have thought about it, write down some things that will help you prepare for the next time you do this event. Also, talk to the students about the event. Get their feedback about what they liked and didn’t like. This will be huge in your preparation for next time!
3. Reward your volunteers. No big student ministry happens without a great group of volunteers. After the big event, give them a break. Also, reward them in somehow. Publicly thank them for their hard work and tell them privately how thankful you are for their work to make this big event happen. Remember they are exhausted as well and give them time to recharge.
4. Keep your student ministry calendar light. Some may disagree with me about this point, but let me explain. A lot of times in student ministry when we do a huge event we fill like we have to have something big right around the corner. If you think and plan this way, you will be completely exhausted, your leaders will be exhausted as well, and you will probably not have any money left in your youth budget. After a big event, don’t pack your student ministry calendar with more huge events. For example, our student ministry is only doing one event outside of our weekly gathering for the next month and a half. In student ministry, I don’t believe we should just fill up the calendar with activities “just to have something to do.” I want to schedule things that have importance and carry a purpose. So for the next month and a half, we are focusing primarily on our weekly gathering and making those the best they can be for the rest of the summer.
These are just a few of the many things you can do to help you recharge after your big student ministry event. Big events are fun and I love doing them in our ministry, but they take a lot out of our volunteers and us, as student pastors. Make sure you recover well and thank God for the work He did in your big event!