A Winning Summer Season
All across America, Student Ministries begin to plan for the summer months of ministries. Some ministries will see students head off to vacation, beach homes and spend time away with family. During the summer month’s ministries begin to plan out a busy schedule trying to reach students with camps, events and other fun creations.
I do not know if you struggle as a youth pastor or worker with leaving the summer frustrated wondering what was accomplished with a pack full schedule. About five years ago, I created a plan or realistic game plan to summer winning youth ministry.
The Summer Plan:
Plan Out your Summer before it begins
I know this one seems obvious, but with crazy spring events, end of year events, and graduation season it becomes easy to plan out just the first month or few weeks of the summer. I would encourage you to plan out weeks in advance for the whole Summer. Write down on your calendar the last day of school and the first day of school. It allows you to make sure you have a kick off to summer event and a back to school event planned appropriately. Planning out your summer allows you to see the full picture of your summer with camps, mission trips, graduations and Vacation Bible School.
When you plan out the summer months, use the events mentioned below to help create a productive season.
Create Evangelistic events throughout the Summer
The summer months allow ministries to offer evangelistic events any day of the week, which allows your ministry more freedom. Looking at your calendar for the summer, find three to four opportunities to provide evangelistic outreaches. In our ministry in Hillsborough, NC we offer friend nights or events where students can invite friends to attend with no pressure. It could be a pool party at the beginning of summer where we begin to meet friends and neighbors of our students. Then we start to follow up and get connected with those who came out to the pool party.
Throughout the summer will offer meeting at Starbucks or Chick Fil A and have students bring friends with them where we answer questions that teenagers may struggle with in their lives. Topics could include theological, spiritual and personal questions. We try to make it where students can ask questions in a non-threatening environment. Then at the end of summer, we have a dodgeball tournament where we share the Gospel and begin to help students own their Christian walk.
Plan breakfast, lunch and Dinner with Students
The summer months can provide a fruitful season in your ministry amongst the busyness of the summer. One way to help make the summer productive for ministry comes through providing scheduled times with students for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I look to offer three to four times a week to meet with students somewhere. I call it my third office location because I want the students to see me outside of the church and doing life with them.
The breakfast, lunch, coffee or dinner time helps provide an informal context and environment. It helps to have no agenda and just come to a place to just hang out with students and hear their stories. During the summer these events have provided the most fruit to my busy schedule because students can come and open up when the schedule of life is left behind.
Scheduling time at your third office can happen through posting on social media where your located that day and have students meet you there for a two hour period. Though another way that also has shown to produce fruit is when you schedule to meet 2-3 students at your third office and just spend 1-2 hours hanging out with them. By the way, encourage your volunteer team to meet with students in a similar format because students will open up to these leaders and you will see your volunteer team have excitement from students opening up and trusting your volunteer staff.
Creative Mid-Week Worship
Summer time provides weird or different schedules within the local church. Use the various schedules to your benefit instead of being defeated by the schedule. A creative way for Youth Ministry during the summer happens through having mid-week or once a week student worship services. Here in NC, we meet for mid-week Elevate Service. During the summer have a parent or volunteer open their house up and go there for fun and games, but also have worship in that family’s home with your students. Also, when you are gathered together do not be afraid to open the Bible and have a Bible study with your students. I have told my students, during the summer make sure you do not take a vacation from God.
Take your students to a fast food location, a park, or somewhere near you and just spend time with them during the time you normally would have met during the school year. I have seen a guitar and some singers’ breakout into worship in a fast location on more than one occasion. Imagine walking into a Burger King or McDonald’s and see a student ministry outside sitting at the tables worshipping or even inside. By the way, yes, I have done this before, and it led to seeing students coming to Christ.
Just have fun with your students
No matter what you do this summer just have fun with your students. Plan creative ways to make sure that you reach out to your students and help them own their faith. Each ministry is different, but the primary goal is that our schedules are set up to Win.
SCOTT TALLEY has been doing youth ministry for 13 years. He serves at Ebenezer Baptist in Hillsborough, NC as the Pastor of Students. Talley has studied and written on youth ministry and received his Doctorate in Global Mobilization at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Talley seeks to help fellow youth pastors reach teenagers with the Gospel, while also engaging students to make disciples locally and internationally.
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.