Try this easy approach to encouraging youth to brainstorm ideas and plans for the new school year.
True ministry with youth necessitates involving young people in helping to plan and shape the direction of the ministry. There are lots of ways to help youth participate in the planning process, ranging from written surveys to forming a youth ministry planning team. But if you are looking for a fast and interactive way to get the ball rolling, all you need to start are some paper sacks and lots of Post-it notes.
Label each paper sack with some aspect of your ministry program. For example: Bible study topics, discussion topics, worship ideas, mission projects, fellowship activities, outreach to new youth, and so on. Give each youth a stack of Post-its and a marker and invite them to spend some time writing down their ideas in the various categories. So, as they write down a single idea about worship, they then drop that note in the worship sack. Or if they write down a topic such as "Could Jesus heal people?" they drop that note in the Bible Study sack. Encourage youth to talk and share their ideas while they write as this will encourage more creative brainstorming. Challenge youth to think big and not to worry about how practical or economical their suggestions might be. The goal is just to generate as many ideas as possible.
At the end of the brainstorm, post sheets of paper around the room, each with one of the labels from the paper sacks. Have the youth help to stick the Post-it note ideas from each paper sack on to the corresponding sheet of paper. Finally, give each youth 10 or so stickers and invite them to move around the room, putting a sticker next to their one or two favorite ideas in each category.
With this information in hand, you will now have a better idea which spiritual and Biblical issues are most on the mind of your youth, the sorts of mission projects they have a passion for participating in, and the types of fellowship and worship activities that might help to bond your community together in the coming months.