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Summer: Relationship-Driven vs Event-Driven

Summer is upon us. Yesterday was Memorial Day, which is sort of the official summer kick-off. Are you ready? Most leaders lean towards being event-driven or relationally-driven during the summer months. Event driven ministries have big  events that draw a crowd. Leaders focus most of their time and energy on coordinating the events, rather than fostering an environment of relationships within the group. The problem is they miss a big opportunity to connect preteens to leaders and one another. Been there, done that.

In the early days of leading a preteen ministry, I was event-driven. I would do big events with the WOW factor. As our number of preteens grew, our budget grew, which meant we could do bigger and better events. The problem was that the sense of community and depth of relationships were suffering. So, I shifted my focus.

My focus shifted to relationships. The idea was to do simple events and get-togethers throughout the summer. We took small groups of preteens for pizza and a movie; went to the park and played football with a group of boys; went to a water park for the day and went paintballing. These get-togethers didn’t require much time or effort to put together. However, they fostered a depth of community that was a launching pad for spiritual growth. We did do our once year summer camp that was always a life-changing event for students and leaders. But it was our only big summer event.

I recommend you do the same. Simplify summer programming and focus on relationship building.

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Over twelve years ago Nick Diliberto lauched a preteen ministry with a handful of volunteers and about 25 kids. Over the years it grew to over 100 kids and has impacted hundreds of young people's lives. Nick is the driving force behind PreteenMinistry.net, Children's Director at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, workshop speaker and author of an ongoing preteen column in Children's Ministry Magazine.