With summer quickly approaching schedules change, people leave and you are ready for a BREAK. If you’ve been in ministry long enough you know that summer is one of the most important times of year because it enables you to make tweaks and changes without disrupting the momentum. It’s also a time for you to relax, grow and experience new things with your students (i.e. mission trips). The only problem is it’s also a perfect opportunity for:
- Momentum to Fade
- Volunteers to Drop Out
- Teens to Forget About Your Ministry
- You to Fall Behind in Your Work
To avoid these pitfalls and summertime blues it’s important to treat summer as seriously as you do any other season. To do this you need a strategy. If you want to avoid your summertime mishaps and come out on the other side focused and ready for the fall, be sure to:
- Keep True To Your Schedule: The tendency is to just shut it all down over the summer. While you do need periods of rest, it’s important not to lose the time frame you work hard to promote. If you aren’t going to meet regularly with your teens still keep your program time as an opportunity to meet with parents, host trainings or check-in meetings for the camps and events. Make sure people are reminded that your designated ministry time is still on their minds.
- Be Consistent But Keep It Light: While you want to maintain your meeting time, don’t feel like you need to maintain the work load. Look at cutting certain components (i.e. technology or activities) that take a lot of preparation and focus on the relationships, which can happen more organically. By planning light you give yourself the capacity to focus on strengthening your leaders and giving yourself some much needed rest.
- Switch The Focus: During the year your focus is on growing disciples amongst the teens. In the summer change that focus to your leaders. Find times to meet with them, hang out, invest and grow with them spiritually. It’s a time to be reflective, to cast vision and remind them about the importance of their commitment. Make it social; however, make it educational at the same time.
- Communicate, Communicate and Communicate: Despite your schedule keep the communication air waves open. Maybe it’s sending your leaders a postcard while on vacation or checking in with teens via Facebook/Twitter. Let parents know some of the tweaks and changes happening over the summer. Give teens a chance to check back in, when they are in town. Let them know that you are still thinking about them.
Summer might be your break and it might be a time for serious planning. Regardless of how you use it, make sure you approach it wisely. Do not forget about your audience while you recover from a full year of ministry. No matter your take on the summer make sure you have a strategy as the weather turns warmer.
How do you avoid summertime blues?
Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)