Choosing when to run your Youth night can be a bit of a juggling act. When you have a small Youth Group you want to make sure that whatever night you choose will work for the majority of people. It may take a bit of trial and error to find something that suits.
I’ve written this post with the aim of helping you figure out what will work for your group, particularly if you have a small Youth Group (less than 15 students). These points may still apply to larger groups, however please note that you will need to also factor in what works for any volunteers you have, too.
What works for you?
Obviously, whenever you choose to run Youth has to work for your schedule, especially if you’re working another job as well. Take a look at your commitments for the week. Figure out all the possible days and times you have available for Youth. If you are working shift work it might not be as straightforward as this, and you may need to talk with your manager or employer at some point to come to an agreement to make it work.
During our first year of Youth Ministry Charles was working shifts. Because of this we opted to run Youth on a Tuesday night, as he could request to have those evenings off without any hassle. Fridays and weekends were popular times to request off, so we knew we’d run into trouble there if we tried to run Youth on any of those nights.
What works for your church?
Since you’re running a ministry that’s part of your church, it’s best to check in with your Senior Pastors too. Check which days and times the church will be available for you to use.
If what works for your church doesn’t work for you, take a second look at your weekly schedule. Is there something you can shift around to make it work? Maybe your Wednesday evening gym session could be switched with a morning one. Maybe you could swap family night. Or maybe you just need to make a commitment to try a Friday night for 6 months when a Thursday might have been easier.
During our second year of Youth we ran it on a Friday night (Charles was no longer doing shift work). There was also another program running at an earlier time in a different space in the church. Some of our students were involved in this and would occasionally arrive at Youth after we were already underway, and they felt a bit awkward arriving late. Because of this we looked at running Youth on a different night during our third year. However, no other night worked for our church due to the building being used by other groups and ministries during the week.
What works for your students and their families?
Lastly, whenever you run Youth has to work for your students too. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to please everyone, as many students and families are busy with extracurricular activities. But don’t let that discourage you! You will be able to find something that either works for the majority or the committed.
The best way to find out what works for your students and their families is to ask them. Compile a list of the days and times that work for both you and your church, and ask them. You can do this either in person, in a text or email, or in a letter sent home with a slip to return to you. Be sure to ask parents as well as students. What works for a student may not be feasible for a parent, and vice versa.
Making a decision.
Once you’ve asked your students and their families, you can choose a day and time. Go with the best fit, based on your priorities. Check in with your Senior Pastor before announcing your decision so that a) you have their approval, and b) you can double check the availability of your church for that time.
If the night you end up choosing doesn’t end up working out, that’s ok. Trial it for a time period (2-3 months?) and if necessary revisit your decision. Like has happened with us over the years, what works in one season may not work in the next, and that’s ok.
- What’s your experience? How did you choose which night to run Youth?
- Were there any other factors that affected your final decision?
If you are starting a Youth Ministry from scratch with only a handful of students, check out our resource- 30 Days To Start A Rockin’ Youth Ministry!