Summer is winding down. The students in your youth ministry are sadly putting away their beach towels and dusting off their school backpacks; they are about to trade their long days on the couch watching Netflix with long days behind their desks.
This means your youth ministry schedule is about to change, too. Fall kick-off is around the corner, and with the new season comes a whole host of new opportunities and activities in your youth ministry.
But before you move on, I’d like to make a suggestion. Take a moment to look back. Specifically, take a look back at the various decisions, commitments and spiritual steps some of the teenagers in your ministry made this past summer. Heading into fall is a great time to remind your students what God did in their hearts over the summer.
Here are a few simple ideas for following up on summertime decisions:
Send out a “generic” encouragement to your entire youth group.
Because it’s possible decisions were made and steps were taken that you are unaware of, send a word of encouragement to your entire group saying something like, “If God did something special in your life this summer, I’d love to hear about it! One of the best “next steps” you can take is to share with somebody what God has done. Tell a friend, tell a parent or tell somebody on our youth team so we can rejoice and pray for you.”
Send a specific encouragement to those students who made specific commitments.
They may have already filled out a card at camp. They may have pulled you aside on the mission trip to share. They may have raised their hand at church. You may already know the exact decision certain students in your group made, so now is a great time to send a little note of encouragement. When the busyness of fall kicks in, teenagers have a tendency to put in their rear view mirror the wonderful things God did during the summer. A well-timed reminder will help keep that from happening.
Provide tangible, easy-to-take, next steps.
Oftentimes commitments and decisions made by teenagers wane because they don’t know what to do next! Help their commitments stick by providing some next steps that are easily implemented. If a student indicated he wants to grow more in his faith, provide a book or student Bible. If a girl indicated she feels called to ministry, make a coffee date with her and help her map out five or six options for education, internships, etc. If somebody made a first-time decision to follow Jesus, hand him a copy of Scott Rubin’s excellent new book, Essential Guide to My New Life With Jesus. Make an 8-week series out of it with LIVE Curriculum’s My New Life With Jesus. (Or better yet, get the My New Life With Jesus Starter Kit that includes both!)
Our students are on a journey. Before they jump into the fall, take a moment to help them remember and solidify the steps they took this summer.