Tag Archives: Summer Events

I Know What I Did Last Summer

Check out my latest article on the Youth Specialties Blog – 5 Things I’m Glad I Did Last Summer!

Click On Pic Below!

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Two Secrets That Will Help Build Your Summer Ministry

Has this ever happened to you in the summer?  You plan a canoe trip and three teens show up?  Or you put together a whiffle ball home run derby, one guy shows up, and is automatically declared the winner?  These are true stories from my ministry.  Summer events can be frustrating.  Whether it is the different schedule of summer, vacations, or sports camps…it proves to be difficult to host a successful summer event.  So, over the years, as I have evaluated the summer ministries, I have found two effective ways to do summer ministry.

#1 – Scale Down

imagesTake a breather.  Listen, with week-long mission trips, camps, mission projects, Vacation Bible School…your attendance at weekly meetings will begin to dip.  The philosophy of scaling down in summer youth ministry is highly debated.  You will find the “summer is the best time to do ministry” crowd.  And if that works for you, Praise God.  But, in my experience, keeping the normal ministry schedule has resulted in low attendance, picking and choosing of ministry involvement, and tired leaders.

Instead, we put our energy and passion into the other events of the summer.  We serve together for big children’s ministry events.  We build our efforts towards mission trips and projects.  Our leaders recoup and find refreshment.  And you know what happens when fall rolls around?  They are pumped and primed for ministry!  The summer builds up that opening night of the school year schedule.

#2 – Summer Hang Out

PosterThe summer schedule is unpredictable.  So, as Kevin Durant would say, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.  Use informal time to build into the students.  Take a few guys out for ice cream, babysit for your wife to take some girls out for coffee, or invite some teens over for a ministry project during the week.  Use this time for some informal discipleship, catching up, and building unity over the summer.

We posted an announcement on Facebook to let the students know their leaders were available to hang out sometime this summer.  Some girls called my wife to have dinner.  I was able to have lunch with a few guys the last few weeks.  It’s nothing earth-shattering, but the conversations have been priceless.  What I want to happen at events (informal discipleship) is happening in this brief get-together.

What about you?  What works for you in the summer?  I’d love to hear your secrets to a successful summer.

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5 Tips For Planning Your Event Calendar – What the students told me!

Here’s an idea for planning your student ministry events…ask the students!  What a novel concept.  Why didn’t I think of this sooner!

So that’s what I did.  I wrote out all the events and service projects (including mission trip and children ministry events we served in) and put them in a survey.  I had the students rank the events from 5 (awesomest) to 1 (never, ever, do that again).  And let me tell you, if pictures speak 1,000 words, surveys got to speak at least 124 words.  Lots of interesting thoughts came that will help your event planning tremendously.

  1. Don’t Assume.  Don’t assume since you thought you rocked out an event that all the students feel the same way.  The one event I thought was the most amazing event I have ever was ranked in the lower half of the events.  Shocking.
  2. Pump up the volume.  I’ve realized that according to the scores, it is important to pump up the excitement and importance of a service project.  Most of the service projects were ranked low, could be because teenagers typically like to have fun more than get their hands dirty…but I’d like to take some responsibility on this one as well.
  3. Summer Down.  This summer I toned down the summer events and focused more on leadership conferences & mission trip.  Why, well if you look at the numbers, it proves that summer events are just now well attended.  So you won’t see my summer filled with day and weekend events.  It is more informal and specific life-changing trips that I focus on in the summer, and the numbers don’t lie that it is the right way to go.
  4. Time to March on.  March had my bottom two rated events.  Be careful to not schedule two potential duds on the same month.  Both the service project & event (we do a service project & event every month, you should try it!) bombed…not good for momentum.  Maybe pair a risk with a known commodity to make sure you don’t do this blunder like I did.
  5. No clones, just improvements.  Here’s something to remember.  Be wise (pray for this!) about what events you think had a low number because they need improvement and what was low because they are stinkers.  Don’t be afraid to cut, but don’t be afraid to cut for surgery repair either.  Also, don’t make a clone event list like last year.  Maybe take a high rated event away so you don’t repeat and have them lose interest.  Your calendar cannot be a clone of last year’s or apathy will reign.


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