It’s that time of year again. That glorious, relational, chaotic, nonstop stress, relaxing time of year. Summer is such a strange beast in student ministry, and a lot of that depends on the context of your ministry! Some ministries have a high-event summer, and others have a high-chill summer, for lack of a better term.
Here’s what summer looks like in my ministry!
- During the school year, Wednesday night is our “Crowd level” worship service. Our students have a “typical” summer break, from End of May to mid/late August. During summer, we murder midweek. There’s a lot of pushback against that the first summer you do, but most parents are on board when they hear the heart behind it. Summer is chaotic and families are all over the place. So instead of me spending 15-20 hours prepping a talk for 3 students, I’d rather have that time to be relational. It also allows for expectancy to build, momentum to grow, and a great energy when we launch it again in August. Selfishly, it also allows our volunteers (and myself) to step back, take a breath, and relax a little more during the summer.
- We do a Bible Study. This year, we’re using a FUEL video. It’ll be the first time I ever use a video curriculum, but it fits well in this context. We usually run about 30% attendance for Bible studies, so this year we’ll meet at our house (next year we probably won’t have the room). Students bring a lunch, we eat, go through a study, then discuss after. Highly relational, in case you’re noticing a theme.
- FUN! About every other week, we have some sort of high energy or relational event. Whether it’s a movie night, lake day, or the devil-child of youth ministry, a lock-in, we try and do things students WANT to invite friends to. I have no plans of giving a devotion at these, or having a structured response time. They’re just “open doors” for new students to get engaged, and for the students who are coming into our ministry from our pre-teen ministry to connect with me, any adults who show up, and other students. We try and do a good balance of charging students vs. free events.
- MISSION EXPERIENCE. In our context, where we’re at, we have one option for this summer. I’d love to do an international trip, or something along those lines, but right now, this is what works. We’re doing a week long missions camp, with about 25-35% of our students attending.
- Transition Event. We’re trying something new this summer. An event to transition students from our pre-teen ministry to our youth ministry. I may do a post on this later, but we’re wanting to introduce the new students to concepts of our ministry, such as our midweek service, small groups, relationships, common fears, etc. Who knows how this will pan out.
- Adults are invited to take the summer off. There are a few events where I will ask individual leaders to jump in, either to drive another vehicle, provide a boat, or something along those lines. Each of our adult volunteers and small group leaders are given a summer calendar, and I say, “Here’s what summer is this year. I’d love for you to be at all of them. You’ll have roles at almost none of them. You’re not expected to be at a single one. I want summer to be restful for you so you’re primed and ready to roll come August. If you’re going to be at one, let me know. Have a great summer.” A lot of our adults still end up at a majority of our summer events, but they’re not expected at them.
Just in case you’re interested, here’s a link to our summer calendar. It can feel empty, but I want to allow time for rest, spontaneous “Let’s go see Spider-Man…….and I’ll turn in my receipt!” nights, and families to not feel burdened by time or money.
So that’s our summer. What does your summer look like?