Ministry in the summer can fly by. Summer can feel like a whirlwind from ending the school year, celebrating graduations, jumping into camps or mission trips, assisting VBS, and family vacations. And before we know it, we’ve lost a golden opportunity. So I wonder, have you thought through how you are using summer? I believe each summer, we should choose a few things to focus on as leaders. Here are just a few that you may want to consider implementing in your summer ministry this year.
FOUR STRATEGIC DECISIONS FOR SUMMER MINISTRY
Choose The Small Moments In Summer Ministry
There will be many small moments throughout the summer, and you do not want to miss them. What are small moments?
Small moments look like walking with a student as you carry game supplies back to the bus, waiting for a ride, or setting up for VBS. These situations create opportunities for you to ask questions and hear a young person’s heart. You can help them feel seen, heard, and acknowledged. These conversations can be a catalyst toward spiritual development and even inspire them to take on a level of leadership like never before.
During the school year, these moments are more challenging to find. But in the summer, there will be many opportunities to connect on an individual level with a young person.
Create Opportunities For Leadership During Summer Ministry
Want to see young people leading more in your ministry? You do that by giving them opportunities. Notice, I didn’t say you do that by ensuring they will succeed. You give them opportunities to lead in both success and failure.
Summer provides us with the chance to let young people lead games, devotions, snacks, prayer, and more. Why is summer a great place for this? Because ministry that happens in the summer is often smaller and feels less risky.
Take advantage of the less risky feel of summer and give young people a chance to lead. Walk with them through the planning, execution, and evaluation of how the activity went. Using this time wisely will prepare them to be a leader during the school year.
Support Other Ministries
We all have important things to accomplish during the summer. I understand that. But have you ever considered summer as an opportunity to build credit and relationships with others in the church?
If you’re in youth ministry, summer is an excellent time to volunteer in and support the children’s ministry. Consider this; those children will be teens before you know it. Imagine how much better their transition into the youth ministry will be if they already have a relationship with you.
How about supporting an adult ministry? Consider participating in an adult service project or Sunday School class. This action will help you build credit with the adults – credit that may someday pay off if you need extra support. You may also find new volunteers or individuals who want to fund a portion of your ministry.
And let’s be honest. We’re around young people a lot. Spending time with other adults will help us be more well-rounded people.
Remember Rest & Family
For some of us, the summer is the perfect opportunity to rest. Wait, let me correct that statement. The summer provides us and even calls all of us to rest.
A rested you and a better prepared you. Make sure you schedule blocks of time to nap, read a book that encourages your soul, build a table, or lounge on the beach. Find ways to remind you of the critical fact that we all often forget – you are beloved by God regardless of your work.
And perhaps, most of all, find ways to spend time with your family. Show love and support, and be there for and with them.
Regardless of how long you’ve been in ministry, we must constantly be making large and small decisions. These decisions should be defined in the summer by how we want our relationships to go, what will keep us in ministry longer, and how we can set ourselves up for success in the coming school year.
Rev. Brian Lawson is the Director of Leadership Development and Client Services for YMI and has served in youth ministry since 2004. He also serves as a pastor in the Florida Conference of the UMC. Brian holds a Master of Ministry with a focus in organizational culture, team-based leadership, change, conflict, and peacemaking from Warner University. In addition to his degrees from Warner, he studied Christian Education at Asbury Theological Seminary. Click the social links below to engage with Brian.