Summer is here! Students are out of school, camp schedules are looming, personal vacations are coveted for a much-needed get away and before you know it the fall kick off will be here very soon.
I tend to always feel an awkward ache when I can’t meet with every student or be able to see all our students and their friends during the summer. I also know that summer can drain me if I am not careful because of the business. So with all that summer brings, how do you keep a pastors voice and touch with your students? Here are a few ideas of how you could do this.
1) Disperse ministry responsibilities—To me this is where volunteers and student leaders come in huge. You need to expand your pastoral touch, and with more voices and hands in a leading role you can do this. Have leaders follow up with students, make phone calls, help with coordinating events/trips so you can be a pastor and not just an event coordinator.
2) Backyard BBQ—Invite a handful of students over to your house for an invite only BBQ. Turn on the grill, grab a backyard game, and enjoy the moments it’ll create. Eat, play, and enjoy summer fun while giving students a great youth ministry moment.
3) Create student margin—Maybe you need to take a week or two “off” of ministry events and create opportunities to just be with your students. No permission slips, no drivers, no deadlines, not even an activity…just a time for students to show up, gather together to be encouraged. You may have 1 or 100 show but regardless enjoy the time to just hang and talk in the flesh.
4) Use social media effectively—Message your students individually to say hi, ask how you can pray for them, or send out verses for them to read. Post a video to Facebook, Youtube, and Vimeo, with devotional thoughts, updates, and also maybe even a sneak peek of your own summer activities.
5) Take time to plan—If you don’t have a day or two in your summer to pray and plan for the upcoming school year, you may regret it come September 1st.
6) Test—Maybe you’ve been waiting to test a ministry idea without a long term commitment to it…summer can be ideal for that!
7) Be smart with your own Soul—If you have an expectation that the student ministry amps up during the summer “cause that’s what is supposed to happen” be careful that your own soul doesn’t burn out.
I’ve yet to find a great way to handle any summer with the business or chaos it can bring. But I do know that I need to be sure that I don’t get overwhelmed so my pastoral heart & voice is squashed and more importantly I don’t lead a ministry into a new school year completely drained.