Where do you start? Is there a master list to follow? Here are some tips I've used (stolen) in planning several youth rallies now:
1. Plan your theme and speaker well in advance. We try to have next year's theme and speaker ready to introduce by the end of this year's rally.
2. Give your teens appropriate responsibilities. Some teens can take on more responsibilities than others. For example, you probably shouldn't give a teen command of the budget for your youth rally!! On the other hand, you might have some talented artists who can perform or make artwork. My teens have shot the Rules video each year, and really impress me each time.
3. Involve your whole church. This is a great opportunity for people to see you (youth minister or volunteer) in action. Use them to house teens, serve food, lead a discussion or class, registration, driving...the list goes on.
4. Give yourself plenty of time to plan. I have a list that I start working on over a month before the rally begins. The stress will fade away as you cross the items off that list!
5. Be flexible! Things WILL go wrong! Teens will take their cues from you. If you think things aren't going well, they might think the same thing. Evaluate each rally when it's done, and remove or rework those things that didn't work.
6. Keep Jesus by your side. Remember what your rally is all about. It's not about showcasing your talents, or getting people to like you. Point them toward Christ.
In case you're wondering, I DO have several lists that I use to plan and execute our youth rally. If you think it would be helpful, let me know and I'll send them to you.
If you'll excuse me, I have to go sleep one more time before a hectic weekend begins with a LOT of teens and a LOT of Jesus!