Forward Planning


People are different in the way that they plan for things. Some people will plan a long way ahead and other people will leave planning to the last minute.

Youth ministry within churches is reliant on volunteers and volunteers are the people often running it. It is important that you are able to plan ahead to make sure volunteers are able to do what they need to do, and in plenty of time.

I will explain one method that you can use to help with this. There will be others available and you may not like this one. The most important thing isn’t to do it like I have suggested, but to have a method that works for you and your team


Even though there are no direct references in the bible that show us why and how we should forward plan within our youth ministry, there is the principle of being ready and prepared in life. This can be seen in the Parable of the 10 Virgins (Matthew 25.1-13), or by Paul encouraging us to always be ready with answer for the faith that we have (1 Peter 3.15).


If you consider planning for a larger project, such as a residential, there are lots of things that need to be taken into account. Each of these things will need to be done at a different time and often the order of them happening is important.

With a little forward planning you can help each member of the team to do what they need to do and help that to fit in with the bigger picture plan.

So – taking the youth residential as an example, you will have a number of things that you need to sort, for example; –

  • Practicalities (Where, When, Who?)
  • Administration (health and safety, letters, costs, confirmation and kit list)
  • Equipment needed (Tents, first aid kit, games, PA)

These things don’t all need doing at the same time. So, creating a table with what needs to be done down the left and the months or weeks across the top and then writing in the corresponding box what needs to be done by whom each month (week) will help you keep on track.

Here is a simple table to give you the idea;

January February March
Practicalities Ask for volunteers Visit venue
Administration Flyers Pay for venue
Equipment needed Check what we have



Once you have done this, you are then able to fine tune it as you go. You may realise that you did something too early or too late, or that you forgot something crucial on the previous occasion.

If you and your team find it helpful you can use similar method for smaller events as well.



There are many tools and methods about forward planning available. If this doesn’t work for you ask other people in your church what they do or those in other settings that you could adapt a template for planning and re-use.

Daniel Beckett

My name is Daniel Beckett and I am the Children and Youth Pastor at Godmanchester Baptist Church. I am married to Hayley and have 3 children. I enjoy running, spending time with my family, and being on my allotment.

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