Preparing the Way (for your Youth Ministry successor)


Advent is a season of preparation.  This morning I was thinking on that a bit and I know the focus of Advent is to prepare for the time when the Lord comes at Christmas and also at the time of the last judgement, but this morning I was thinking about how we can best prepare for when we leave our ministry and how we can prepare “the ministry” to be ready for when the next person comes.  There are numerous ways that we will can prepare and organize things in such a way that will help our successor not have to make up so much group from our absence.

Here are few things that I practiced as a parish youth minister and also on the Diocesan level now that will  and have hopefully helped those that follow after me.

Keep A Good Database

I am very good with keeping files organized on the computer and keeping records of things that I do.  I also keep good records of people who are attending events and how often, including the adults.  For example, if people go into my computer files, they can go into My Documents and find folders that say Games, Lessons, Attendance Sheets, Budget, etc.

Write Follow-Up Reports

One thing I also do is I have a blanket event sheet for every event that I do.  It includes all of the basics like marketing, applications, finances, etc., but the last thing on the sheet tells me to make a few notes for next time this event is done.  I don’t always go back and look at these because I can usually recall the big things that we needed to consider for next time, but I know it would be helpful for those who were not there!

Manage Contacts Well

One of the hardest things of walking into a new position can be if you do not know people.  Be sure to care enough to organize your email contacts well and even create groups in your email for leaders (youth and adult).  Also, in most email contact programs you can take notes.  Spend a little time every now and then to make some notes on each of those contacts.  When you are ready to leave, if you are using an email account that cannot be transferred than you can simply export these contacts for their use.

Use Social Media Accounts that are Transferable

Have your Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking accounts set up so that they are not tied to you!  For example, in the parish I had a “Sacred Heart Youth Group” group and now at the Diocesan level I have “Sioux Falls Youth Events” page.  When I left the parish, I was happy to assign the new leadership that took over admin privileges.  When you do leave, TAKE YOURSELF OFF AS AN ADMIN.

Don’t Stretch Yourself Thin

One thing my Bishop has taught me well that he takes into consideration is whether or not something will be sustainable when he leaves.  If you are one of those overworking youth workers that does too much, STOP IT.  Set your program up so that another person could take it over and it wouldn’t kill them.  If your life is not in balance, you are not only setting yourself for failure, but the next person will be affected as well.

What other ways are you (or should you be) preparing for the next person?  Please share in the comments below!

  • Rachel Mark

    I have a folder in My Documents named “To-Do lists.” It contains lists of tasks to complete by month, as well as for specific big events. It helps me make sure details don’t slip through the cracks. I also can take my to-do list and give it to a volunteer, and they have everything they need to do that event well.
    It is also a good idea to get a copy of the to-do lists or written records of co-workers when there is a transition. At one point, our parish had 3 different youth ministers within a 3 year period. By the time the 3rd minister had arrived, the careful notes the 1st youth minister had made had dissapeared!