For every youth ministry summer trip, there are more “God moments” to share than you could fit into a 15 minute conversation. Sadly, most of these stories are never shared within the youth group and certainly not shared with the whole church. As we come to the end of another summer where youth have traveled all over the country and around the world in the name of Jesus, I want to share some practical ways that you can share what God has done with the entire church family.
- Newsletter Take Over: An entire newsletter or e-newsletter focused on what God did this summer from the mission trip, to camp, to helping with VBS, etc. You don’t have to write the articles either, let the kids tell their stories of what God has done.
- Youth Summer Sunday: The sharing of testimony is the most powerful way to share the Good News. See if the youth can lead the service sometime in August and use the different elements of worship to tell part of God’s story from the summer trips. In addition to a sermon or witness time, have youth pray for the families they served by name and pray for the needs they saw. Teach a new song they learned.
- Investor Dinner: Can’t get a Sunday morning? Invite members of the congregation to an “investors’ dinner” where they can see the “dividends” of their investments. At the investors’ dinner, you can share the powerful ways God was present through testimony, song, and prayer. You can also have youth sit at dinner tables with attendees and share personally ways God touched their lives.
- Sermon Interview: Can’t get the whole service? Talk to your pastor about interviewing some of the youth about their experiences.
- Picture Post Cards or E-cards: Bring a list of parents’ and grandparents’ emails on the trip. Have youth send an email with a picture and note about what God is doing attached to it to members of the congregation. Note: You can do this from the trip and most of them can do it from their phone (standard data rates apply). Missed the chance to do it during the trip? Send them anyway. It is never too late to share the Good News of what God has done.
- Youth Ministry Blog/Facebook: Have youth post stories to your youth ministry blog or Facebook page. You will be amazed how many people read them.
All of these suggestions are ways to help you get God’s story out to others. One thing to remember is that you are sharing God’s story. All these suggestions are opportunities to help youth testify to something God did in their lives or someone else’s. I have seen many a mission moment ruined as teens shared an insider’s story about something funny that happened. They are trying to share something significant that happened, but the way they share it will shape how it is received. The emphasis should always be on God’s activity. Each of these is an opportunity to help youth recognize and acknowledge God’s presence in their lives.
Here are some questions that you can use to help youth as they learn to recognize God’s activity:
- Where did you see God at work this week?
- Where did you see people in need of God? How did the people you served impact you?
- When did you feel God’s presence the most?
- When did you see someone show Christ’s love to someone else?
- How will you live differently because of something you experienced this summer?
- What did you learn about God’s love?
- How can our church help those in need?
There are several reasons for sharing these stories with the whole church. They create space for conversation between youth and adults in the church. They make the church aware of what is happening in the youth ministry. But most importantly, they share manna from heaven with a world that is hungry to know God is with us.