Hit the Reset Button: Preparing for a New Year

It is time we hit the reset button! We all love Christmas. It’s a time to relax, slow down the pace of life, spend quality time with friends and family, and even work on a few projects. Sadly though, the break doesn’t last forever. As the end of the year quickly approaches, the start of a new year and the second half of the ministry year are here. For those of us in youth ministry, the beginning of a new year can be filled with excitement and possibilities or dread and exhaustion. So how can we effectively prepare ourselves for the year? 

Here are a few simple suggestions.

1) Continue to Take Time for Yourself: Youth ministry can be one of the most amazing and rewarding jobs, but it can also be one of the most draining and exhausting. Make sure you continue to take time to recharge, refresh, and relax. We cannot draw out of an empty well. If we are tired and dry, we are doing ourselves a disservice and the students in our ministry. Find ways to stay energized and to grow in this new year, and plan time into your schedule each week to do so. Here are just a few suggestions of things you could do:

  • Spend time with friends and family and not talk about ministry at all.
  • Take a mini-sabbatical over a long weekend, find a monastery or other remote location where you can go and be and recharge your batteries away from the trappings of life.
  • Have a spiritual mentor who can consistently meet with you and pour into you as you pour into others.
  • Spend a few hours a week doing whatever hobby you enjoy that gets you excited. 
  • Daily be in God’s Word and prayer; he is the one who fills us up the best. 

2) Clean Slate: Each year in ministry has its ups and downs, wins and losses. It can be hard to mentally close the book on the previous year and move on, especially regarding things that may not have gone as well as you hoped or planned. First off, we are all human and make mistakes, even youth workers. We need to remind ourselves of that simple truth from time to time and allow ourselves to embrace grace. Evaluate the experience, learn from it, move on, and do not let it define you or your ministry. 

Next, remember that the new year can be a clean slate full of possibilities! It’s a time to start fresh and be excited about the amazing things that God will do in and through your ministry. There’s so much excitement at the start of the new year, and it can be contagious. Approach the new year with that same excitement and anticipation of what God can do this next year in you and your students.

3) Build off the Momentum of the First Half of the Year: Christmas can be a time of relaxing and slower pace, but it can also be a time of deep richness in ministry. It can allow us to spend some intentional time with our students and have some deep and powerful conversations about Christ’s presence in our world. Many youth ministries also participate in holiday serving projects where students can connect and deepen their connection with Christ and come away spiritually focused and excited to live out their faith in new and amazing ways. We have students who can come away with the realization that they can serve God in their local community and can become super passionate about getting other students in your ministry involved in regular service to their community.

That’s the kind of passion for God that is contagious and that we as youth leaders need to help grow and find ways to help our students live out. Have those students share about their experiences and allow them to cast a vision to your ministry of what God might be calling your ministry to do this year. Let your students’ excitement and passion reignite yours as well and build off that momentum as you start the new year. Don’t let students’ experiences end at the holidays,  but find ways to help them continue to live out what God was showing them and give them chances to invite their peers to join them.

The new year will be full of unexpected blessings and challenges. At the end of it, we get to look back and see the countless ways that God was faithful to us, our students, and our ministries.

So let’s start this year with a sense of excitement and anticipation of what God will do in and through us and do our part to adequately prepare ourselves to be the effective leaders we know God can help us be.


Frank Newburn is a husband, father of 3, and 32-year youth ministry veteran. His ministry focuses include mentoring and discipleship, student leadership, and missions. He holds degrees in Psychology, Christian Education, Biblical and Theological Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, all from Wheaton College. Frank enjoys movies, cooking, working out, and spending time with his wife and kids.

You can contact Frank at fnewburn@gmail.com. Frank is also a contributing writer for LeaderTreks: https://www.leadertreks.org/contributors/frank-newburn/.