4 things that will help you make a better Youth Ministry Calendar

calendardesign

For the last few years, the Ministries I have been apart of have traditionally released our Youth Group calendars three times a year; Fall Calendar, Spring Calendar, and Summer Calendar. We had a pretty good set up of our fall and spring one’s this past year, but we changed it up in the summer, and learned a few lessons that I believe are helpful for other Youth Pastors Planning a Youth Group calendar.

1. Our Parents prefer the month view, not a list of events.

Try to design a calendar that fits the needs of your ministry while maintaining complete ease of use. Do you need to go with a month view? Maybe you have a lot of detailed events and need a list view. The goal here is to design something that will fit your specific ministry context. Below are two examples.

what should a youth group calendar look like event calendar student ministry

2. Everyone is going to have questions about events, don’t waste time/space on printed calendar, make blog posts on youth website or facebook events with detailed information.

The Fall calendar was blank on the back. It was also an 11×17 printed page that looked fantastic on the fridges, and was something every parent didn’t mind hanging in their kitchen. It looks clean and sharp, and people liked showing it off. The Summer calendar has a bunch of paragraphs on the backside having to explain the events in more detail. We’re doing Facebook events for all of these events regardless, but realizing the fall version of calendar communicates far better than what we did for the summer calendar.

3. It’s better to put out a calendar a week late than have inaccurate information a week early and all summer.

Our Summer Calendar went out a week late this year, but we also have accurate information due to some changes in the church calendar, as well as finalizing dates for our Summer fuse at specific host homes. Because we are taking Youth Group to three different houses, we needed the calendar to properly communicate where parents were taking their kids on a specific week. At the end of Summer, no one will remember getting the calendar a week late, but they would have remembered not knowing where Youth Group was going to be each week.

4. Ultimately, it’s a calendar, not a piece of art.

I’ve seen some amazing calendars, and I want to make the best looking calendars I can for our students, and to share with other Youth Pastors for their Youth Ministries. But the big thing I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter how cool a calendar (or really, anything you design in youth ministry) looks if it doesn’t accomplish the task of communicating what you need it to. I saw one calendar that looked sweet, had an amazing modern design and looked like a movie poster. But, the information was so small in the design that for me, it would have done no good. Make the information stand out, not the design.

Those are my four lessons about planning a youth group calendar. What has your experience taught you about calendars for youth ministry?

About Ben Read

Almost three years ago, Ben felt a calling to start a new website for Youth Pastors, and after talking with his Brother about it for a few months, they launched YouthMin.org. He and his wife, Sarah, met while attending Liberty University, and have a son and daughter, Benjamin and Elliotte, and a black lab named max.

Comments

  1. pastortank says:

    I love 2 and 3. It is more visually appealing to just have the event name and have them go to your website or facebook for details rather than typing it all out.

    Also, having accurate info is always greater than early wrong info. Love it!

  2. pastortank says:

    I love 2 and 3. It is more visually appealing to just have the event name and have them go to your website or facebook for details rather than typing it all out.

    Also, having accurate info is always greater than early wrong info. Love it!

  3. great post Ben! I was just trying to get my calendar started this week. The visuals of the calendar box helps than the list is a great point. Do you have a hard time fitting everything on a 4 month calendar? We are using this as well, just trying to simplify it so it fits

    1. benread says:

      There were only a few times we had difficulty with it, and the hardest time is the text underneath the boxes, getting enough information to describe what the event will be without taking too much room

  4. great post Ben! I was just trying to get my calendar started this week. The visuals of the calendar box helps than the list is a great point. Do you have a hard time fitting everything on a 4 month calendar? We are using this as well, just trying to simplify it so it fits

    1. benread says:

      There were only a few times we had difficulty with it, and the hardest time is the text underneath the boxes, getting enough information to describe what the event will be without taking too much room

  5. Brian says:

    We just published a month-style layout like this and it’s awesome. So much easier to identify when things are when they are laid out like everything else! For a design-minded guy like me, #4 is clutch. I need the occasional reminder to focus on communication over art-piece…

  6. Brian says:

    We just published a month-style layout like this and it’s awesome. So much easier to identify when things are when they are laid out like everything else! For a design-minded guy like me, #4 is clutch. I need the occasional reminder to focus on communication over art-piece…

  7. Keith Parker says:

    Phenomenal post, Ben. Great stuff. As I prep my Fall calendar, I needed to hear these great reminders.

  8. Keith Parker says:

    Phenomenal post, Ben. Great stuff. As I prep my Fall calendar, I needed to hear these great reminders.

  9. Charlie says:

    Awesome post. how do you design your calendars ..is there an easy way or one piece at a time via photoshop or is there another program that makes the layout easy?

  10. Charlie says:

    Awesome post. how do you design your calendars ..is there an easy way or one piece at a time via photoshop or is there another program that makes the layout easy?

  11. Ross Holcomb says:

    Do you ever have problems with any events or programs clashing with other things in the church? How can you avoid clash when your church does not have a yearly calendar, much less a six or three month calendar?

  12. Ross Holcomb says:

    Do you ever have problems with any events or programs clashing with other things in the church? How can you avoid clash when your church does not have a yearly calendar, much less a six or three month calendar?

  13. Aaron Buer says:

    This is great. We finally switched to a monthly view instead of a list. It took us a decade but now we care about what other people think.

    Also, about inaccurate information, we hoping that this year is the breakthrough year for us.

  14. Aaron Buer says:

    This is great. We finally switched to a monthly view instead of a list. It took us a decade but now we care about what other people think.

    Also, about inaccurate information, we hoping that this year is the breakthrough year for us.

  15. Dave Hirschler says:

    I used to do calendars and kind of got away from them. We’re trying to step it up a notch. The 4 suggestions were solid.

    True confession: I am a perfectionist procrastinator. I want everything PERFECT and if it’s not going to be, I procrastinate. I get SO MENTAL over a stupid calendar that I let it CONSUME my life! I’m working on letting go, but it ain’t easy! I have somewhat solved this problem by farming it out to one of my volunteers, then I really try not to nitpick.

    I would LOVE to see some links for y’all’s calendars in order to get some inspiration.