A Different Summer in Youth Ministry
Summer time in youth ministry can become very busy, especially if you are the one that goes to camp two weeks in the summer, then the mission trip and lastly try to program events and gatherings. The summer time can be a crazy time if we let it be. Here are some tips and tricks that I have come up with to make your summer enjoyable and feel peace with all that is going on.
1. Plan Like Crazy Now
When you plan out all your events for summer now, you have more time to enjoy the events when summer begins. This means to schedule out all the teaching for Sunday School, Children’s Church, youth group, or whatever large group gatherings you lead. For me, I oversee all the youth from kindergarten to seniors in high school. I have all my lessons planned and uploaded for Sunday School and Children’s Church in all our age groups in a software program called Asana online. Once this is done, see what events are happening in the summer and get all the information needed as if you were leaving tomorrow. If you don’t have anything planned yet, then plan out events first. Then, you can find all the stuff you need like price, addresses and stops for the trip. When you plan like crazy now, it leaves room for the slack when you are gone on camps and retreats in the summer.
2. Be Different
Summer time is different for students. It is something that they are not used to. We can be the same in our ministries and it can get stale. Be different with the programming of the large group gatherings. For example, we come up with themes for each week we meet in the summer. The youth love it! It adds flavor to what we are doing in the school and makes it different.
If you are used to doing the teaching week after week, maybe find a video series or two to go through. This eases the stress on you and adds time for you to focus on relationships with students.
If you want to keep regular teaching in your large group gatherings, then have other leaders in your ministry teach. When others teach, it allows students to hear a different voice. Nobody is the same, so others may take away something from another leader that they may not take away when you are teaching. Also, adding in others to teach still gives you more time for relationships, instead of using that time for studying.
You can even be so different, that you focus more on relationship building. Instead of teaching every week, maybe you do more game nights that help youth grow closer to each other. You could do a movie night once a month in the summer. This is an easy way for students to invite their friends. Whatever you choose, being different allows for youth to have a different feel in the ministry.
3. Have Fun!
Summer Vacation is normally every teenager’s favorite time of year. It allows them to forget what 2+2 equals and have fun with their friends. You should have fun too! Take a day a week where you invite the youth to take over a restaurant (call first, so that they are prepared). If you like video games, carve out a couple hours one day where your students can come to the church and enjoy playing games. Not only is this fun for you and them, but it also allows you to grow closer to your youth on a different level. If you like Ultimate Frisbee, then I suggest that you try to have teens come out and play once a week. Most kids like Ultimate because it includes all athletic levels. If you are fast, you can go for the deep passes. If you are slow, then you can stay where you are to receive passes. If you like to defend, then you can stand by the opposing teams end zone. Do things that allow you and your youth ministry to have fun. Let’s be honest, Summer should be fun, so have fun!
Ben Lock has served in youth ministry is some form or fashion for around 4 years as a volunteer and now full-time at New Heights Church in Connersville, IN. He loves to show children and teens the love that God has for them. When he is not hanging out with students, Ben likes to play video games, go camping, watch movies, and go on dates with his wife, Kaitlyn.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.