5 Best Summer Youth Ministry Strategies

Jen Willard
March 25th, 2019

Un-plan Your Events

Summer is a great time to practice un-planning your events and practice the ministry of presence with your students. This isn’t an excuse to leave your summer unorganized, but rather a way to let your students feel like they have some choice in how the summer will play out. In other words, plan your events around what your students want to do and spend time with them building relational credibility! Plan a reoccurring event at the same time, once a week in which we take students out to whatever restaurant they would like to visit. Or take students to serve at a local ministry of their choice. You don’t have to plan large scale, flashy events all summer. Just plan days and times to get your group together for quality opportunities of fellowship where they can practice being the church.

All Hands on Deck

Summer is a great time to hire some help. One of the best summer strategies we have is to get a summer intern. Summer interns are fun and helpful during the chaos of summer months, but they also have a huge influence on the life of your youth. They are a great help when all of your regular adults are at work and you need extra help picking up students for an event. They are also resilient when you need someone to work twelve hour days at camp. Summer interns can do everything from help you plan events, to preach a Wednesday night service, and even help you connect with students with whom you have lost touch. You will be providing real life ministry experience for a student in need of a practical, ministry opportunity and your teenagers will end the summer with another Christian mentor and friend in their life!

Travel Together

Summer is a great time to get away. If you have the opportunity to take your students away from the hustle of everyday life, then you should do so! There are so many opportunities during the summer to take students to camps, conferences, mission trips, or to weekend getaways. The distance and length of the trip doesn’t matter as much as the quality and quantity of time your group is able to spend together. Use these trips to make connections with students, build relational equity, and capitalize on the opportunity you will have to invite students into a deeper relationship with Christ.

Go Deeper In Study

Summer is a great time to plan an extra Bible study for students who want to go deeper in their faith. Plan a weekly or biweekly study with your students. You can meet at the building or a local coffee shop and talk through a book or two over the summer. You might be surprised at the amount of students who want to take their relationship with God more seriously and are craving for a Bible study that would really challenge them. Summer is also a great time to get students practicing a devotional life. One that they can practice in the summer months and then carry with them into the school year. Extra Bible study times also create opportunities for students to find and build relationships with other students who also want to go deeper in their walk with Christ.

Prepare for the Fall Season

Summer is a great time to prepare for the Fall Season. The last thing you want to do as a youth pastor is have so much fun in the summer that you totally forget to plan for the Fall. Don’t forget to make space for your incoming students to feel welcome, plan a kickoff event for the Fall, and plan some sermon series for your students. If you plan things ahead of time, you will build momentum as you head into the Fall. While at Summer Camp, you will want to remind those same students about the retreat that you are planning for the Fall. You can also take such opportunities to invite them to participate in a small group. The point is, take some time in the summer to pray about where God is leading your students and plan accordingly as your summer comes to a close.

Jen Willard

Jen Willard has been in full time youth ministry for 5 years and is currently the Youth Pastor at church in Little Rock, AR. She loves continually learning about ministry and is a graduate of Nazarene Theological Seminary’s MDiv program. Jen loves drinking coffee and traveling to new places with her husband Bryan. Follow her on Instagram at @duckjd.

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