As the school year comes to a close, you are eagerly awaiting a summer of BBQs, sunshine, and dipping your toes in the pool. However, you might already notice something else is dipping: your youth group attendance.
Vacations are ramping up, the beach is calling, and rhythms are changing. While summer vacation is definitely the time to relax and enjoy a break, it doesn’t mean every rhythm has to change. In fact, now is a great time to not only strengthen rhythms, but establish them. With less noise and busyness around them, students may be more open to God’s Word and its transforming power.
This summer, begin to shift your mindset in these 3 ways:
Think proactively. There is more permission during the summer to think outside the box. Don’t waste it! Instead of fighting the change in rhythm, adapt to it. Switch up your regular services for outdoor services at the park, or take a break from that structure altogether and meet for ice cream and a pool party instead. Changing your routine does not mean your ministry has to suffer. Continue studying God’s Word and investing in small groups. When you consider the summer an opportunity to try new things rather than a battle to fight, you’ll be surprised how fun it can be (and how many students notice)!
Think differently. Oftentimes, we get stuck on the question “How can I keep students coming back?” This isn’t wrong – the students you have now are very important – but this summer, consider asking this question alongside it: “How can I get new students to come for the first time?” Remember, schedules are more open. Your gatherings are likely more casual. Friends are more likely to be together for days on end. The same student who said “No” to an invitation during the school year because of his crazy soccer schedule might say “Yes” to an invitation for Bible study and ice cream this summer. Leveraging this change of pace could easily help you grow your ministry and more importantly, help new students come to know Jesus.
Think big. Consider using some time during the summer to get away for time with God. Spend 1-3 days alone or with your team to intentionally pray and dream about the upcoming year for your ministry. Be honest and open about how you want God to move and ask Him to help you through the power of His Spirit. Set prayerful goals and dreams. Instead of considering the summer as a wind-down from the school year, begin to look at it as your foundation for the fall. Do not miss how God is working in your life and your group in both the busy and the quiet seasons of ministry. We can plan the best games, the strongest messages, and be surrounded by the best team, but growth and transformation happens through the Spirit.
We are praying for you this summer and are excited for how God will use these next few months to grow your ministry – and grow you too!