The Four Calendars of Youth Ministry

Calendaring is tough in youth ministry! And I’m not just talking about balancing your personal calendar with your ministry calendar so you can have a few meals a week with your family. I’m not even addressing the multiple online applications like Google Calendar, Wunderlist, or Any Do that can help you stay on top of your to-do list and keep your calendar, and Core Team organized. No, I’m talking about the four calendars that dictate your annual youth ministry calendar: school, holiday, fiscal, and liturgical.


School calendars are very important in youth ministry. It tells you more than the sporting events and musicals your Core Team can attend to do some engaging relational ministry and evangelization. It informs you of when SAT and ACT tests are taking place so you can minister to your anxious junior class teens. It shares with you the finals schedule so you can offer a BREAKfast dinner to provide a pancake breakfast prayer and study break for all your teens. You will be aware of the Prom date so you can schedule your retreat around it (or on it if the retreat is for 9th and 10th-grade students). This calendar is golden and must not be overlooked.

If you are anything like me, you will have more than one school calendar. Pair up your Core Members and assign a specific high school to each pair. Then monthly, schedule in the relational ministry opportunities they will attend together. If everyone plays his or her part, true outreach will be accomplished.


Parents and teens mostly looks at this calendar and includes holidays like Boxing Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Superbowl Sunday (Yes! In America it’s a Holiday), Valentines Day, Father’s and Mother’s Day, Carnival, and Halloween. The holiday calendar is important to look at as you plan out when you are having Life and Edge Nights and what type of nights you plan. Planning a Father/Daughter Dance around Father’s Day or taking a Sunday Night off around Labor Day weekend for your Core to rest are things to consider when it comes to your countries holiday calendar.


Most parishes work off a fiscal calendar that runs from July through June. It’s important to understand this as you plan your calendar and budget for the year. If you are new to ministry, you want to pay attention to your budget all year long to avoid being over budget. However, often at the end of the year you might have some money left over in your budget. You should be able to use that money prior to the year closing June 3oth. Check with your business manager to see if you can use remaining money for teen scholarships, your Life and Edge Support renewal, or materials you want to purchase such as computers, speakers, or projectors.


Are priests wearing red, green, white, purple, or rose today? Are we in Ordinary Time, Lent, Pentecost, or Easter? When do we start the soup suppers again or host the annual fish fry? The Liturgical Calendar can feel monotonous if you make it so! You have control over how you bring the beauty of the Liturgical Seasons to life for your teens or ignore the fact that the priest in front of you is wearing pink (sorry rose).

I want to encourage you to dream of some new liturgical events for your parish, especially during Ordinary Time. Why can’t you have a Potato Party during Lent or a make your own Pizza Night during Ordinary Time? Invite the entire community to create Altars of Repose for the deceased on Dia de Los Muertos or All Souls Day. Think about how you can bring the Mass to life for your teens. What prayers, environments, catechesis, and events can you incorporate to help teens understand the importance of tradition and the magnificence of the Universal Church?

There you have it, the four calendars of Youth Ministry. Start pulling together all your calendars to plan a year your teens won’t soon forget. Each calendar creates different obstacles or opportunities that need to be considered. Remember, you will never make everyone happy, and there will always be conflicts from individuals or groups, but awareness and attempt to consider everyone that might be affected is a great starting point.


Image via FlickrCC 2.0, Logo added 

About the Author

Tricia Tembreull

Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-size heart for hospitality. She said yes over twenty years ago to God’s call to youth ministry and never could’ve imagined the adventures and people He had planned for her to encounter along the way. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, you can find Tricia in a church, spending time with family and friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk.

Want to write for Life Teen? Click Here to learn more.