Summer is rapidly approaching. Typically, for youth ministries, this means summer camps, water balloon wars, swimming pool events…oh yeah…and a summer Bible study.
Am I missing something?
It’s never easy to plan summer ministry. Family vacations and sports camps take teenagers away for weeks at a time. This doesn’t keep me from planning weekly venues where I have contact with kids, but it does prompt me to think about where my time is best spent. After all, everything I do in ministry falls under one of two categories: Outreach or Discipleship. I’m either reaching out to those who don’t know Jesus, or I’m helping believers get to know him better.
The question is…how can I use summer vacation to achieve these goals in my ministry to teenagers?
Summer is prime time to accomplish four foundational ministry practices:
One-on-one Time With Teenagers
Summer often provides the freedom in teenagers’ calendars to just “hang out.” Use this opportunity to “hang out” with them. Let every one of your volunteers know that this is priority-one for the summer.
It’s a sad reality, but most young people don’t have a lot of positive adult attention. Summer is a time where your whole team of adults can invite teenagers to connect in settings that are both fun and provoke face-to-face conversation.
Grab a kid or two and…
• Take them to the beach for the day. It doesn’t have to be an official youth group beach trip. In actuality, the smaller the group, the deeper the conversations.
• Go on a hike or a bike ride. This is a great escape from entertainment media and a great setting to surround yourselves in God’s creation.
• Take them shopping somewhere unique. Drive to a huge mall several hours away. It’s amazing the conversations you’ll have while shopping for shoes or sharing mediocre nachos in a food court.
• Go to one of the fun summer movie releases. But don’t just see a film, go for food afterwards and dialogue about what you saw.
One-on-one time helps you build relationships with teenagers that don’t know Jesus, opening doors to spiritual conversations. One-on-one time helps you disciple believers and draws them closer to Jesus.
Isn’t that what ministry’s all about?