By Center for Youth Ministry Training 5/28/19
Navigating summer youth ministry activities can feel impossible. I see youth group after youth group seek to have weekly fun fellowship events, and I talk to youth minister after youth minister who are frustrated that more youth do not show up.
More mature (older) youth ministers will simply say “It is summer.” I’d like to quickly unpack what that means and make a suggestion.
What do we mean when we say “it is summer?” If we think about it, we mean a couple of things:
My observation is that youth actually have more time and do more fellowship activities during the summer, they simply do less of them at church or with the youth group.
They are already doing many of the local fellowship activities that we offer. They are going swimming. They are going to the movies. They are hanging out at friends’ houses.
My suggestion is to join them. Go to them. Just as you go to their soccer games, plays, and school lunches during the school year. Go to them. Go to the movies. Hang out at the local pool. Go to the mall. Go to Sonic during Happy Hour. You can plan your fellowship events where they already are. Then, your most loyal youth who would show up if you were taking trash to the dump can go with you and you’ll see other youth who were there anyway.
It is summer! You’d rather be hanging out at the pool than your office too. So go to them!
We are hearing from numerous youth ministers that during this season their plate is just too full. Caring for others is a ministry staple, but often it comes at the expense of caring for oneself. Self care for the Youth MInister is so important. If you don’t take time for yourself and your own relationship with God, not only will you suffer, but eventually your students will too.
We’ve created a Pandemic Youth Week curriculum bundle that combines elements of both a summer camp and a youth week. Many youth are missing out on both of these due to cancelled camps and trips among other cancelled important events your youth would usually attend. We’ve written this curriculum such that it can be used in person while socially distancing, online, or some combination of both.
Despite all the challenges the pandemic has presented to youth ministries, it has also created an opportunity to allow youth more involvement in worship. Although youth sunday will look very different this year, it is a great opportunity to empower our youth to be leaders. Youth’s comfort and familiarity with technology make them a great resource for churches who are seeking to move their worship services online for the first time.