I grew up in a church that did really good program. And although I did not understand it back then, I soon realized that all success youth groups do program well. How well do you fair in the area of program? When I was in Cobb's ministry back in high school we always had great program. From filling out release forms to having the proper procedures in place for making sure all students got home safely afterword, we had it down. It was not perfect but it was excellent. And being a part of the CORE student leadership team enabled me to learn this stuff from the inside.
I was so accustomed to the way we did stuff in my youth group that I came to expect it from other groups when we would visit their ministries. I thought that all ministries were good at program stuff, I mean why would I have thought otherwise? And since I was involved with student government my whole time in high school I was also used to getting things done a certain way. But I would soon figure out that what I had known all my high school career was very much out of the ordinary. I just happened to have good leadership over me.
I found that most ministries were exactly the opposite. They would claim to be poor in the area of program because they spent all their time on the important stuff like relationships. But they were not good at that either, so it was not really believable. Both are important. I know that it is all about relationships. However, we must be able to facilitate the peeps that come to our church youth groups. The staff that cared for me and the other students while I was I in the high school youth group was good at both. They were good at taking direction and getting things done. And they were all very relational with the students. They spent time with us on and off campus. They understood the vision of the ministry.
Good program takes time. I go to more church youth groups with poor to mediocre programs than I see good to great programs. And I guess you could say that you do not need programs to run a successful and growing ministry... I just have not seen it. They go hand-in-hand. What I do know is that Cobb always had us put in tons of time to create good program for our staff and students. Do you take time and pride in your programming? What does the process look like? Don't just show up five minutes before you start your program and then put stuff together. Make your life easier. Have a process and follow it. It will keep you from a lot of stress.