Want to have a great summer? As youth workers that have planned summers that have both crushed and crashed—let us share some tips for planning a great summer calendar.

Don’t wait until the pressure is on.
Here’s some good news right up front: If you’re thinking about summer now, you’re in good shape. Next year, start even earlier! If you plan in advance, even in broad strokes, it will greatly improve the chances of your summer’s big ideas becoming a reality. Resist the false belief that waiting until the pressure is on makes you better—it doesn’t; it just makes you more frantic.

Change it up.
Summer is a GREAT time to change it up. Get out of the school year rhythms and programs and shake things up. Always have youth group inside? What about taking it “under the stars” for the month of July? Always have small groups? Change it up and go with Midweek for a few months. Summer allows you to try something new and experiment in the short-term effectively. Maybe you’ll stumble onto something great that you can bring into the full year, too!

Think free first.
Summer gets expensive quickly. Aside from camp, what if everything else was free? It would make you get creative for sure! This summer we’re trying out a weekly event we’re calling Five-Dollar Friday trying to keep things super relational, super effective, and super cheap. A few years ago we employed a “cheap and easy” philosophy where everything was super cheap AND most things required no advanced registration, paperwork, etc.

Push hard toward a central event.
For us, Summer Camp is THE event of summer—all events before it point toward it and everything after rides the wave it creates. Maybe this summer take the same strategy and put your eggs in one basket. If you plan too much, it creates confusion as to what someone should really attend. We want it to be obvious: COME TO CAMP—and if you make it to the other stuff, great!

What are your summer planning tips?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

Andy Brazeltonisms

 —  October 19, 2011 — Leave a comment

“This many thoughts is making my head hurt!” – Andy Brazelton
ALL 10…99 thoughts books now in one super-duper amazing combat oriented dream bundle! When you and your volunteers are equipped with all of this knowledge who knows what can happen! Its like 990 gasoline barrels being poured on you and your team…all you have to do is light a match and let your team be empowered to engage your students on a daily basis. In other words, this is a simple way to encourage, build-up, thank, train your leaders as well as yourself!Retail Price: $54.90
Your Price: $34.99
Click Here to Learn More

Want your very own More Than Dodgeball shirt? Of course you do! So far they’ve been given out at a few conferences and events, if you missed one of those rare opportunities you can now get one of your very own with just a few clicks (and a few dollars) online. Be the envy of your youth pastor friends. Dominate your next network meeting! Forget the website, do it for your love of the game.

They’re brand new and available right now from 180living.com – this is a limited run so order yours today!


Brand new student devotional book from Doug Fields and Josh Griffin.

Somewhere along the line, an expectation has crept into church youth groups that once you begin to follow Jesus, you just magically turn into a completely mature Christian. Well, that’s just not true!

In Live Large. Be Different. Shine Bright., Doug Fields and Joshua Griffin share about some important character qualities that will help teenagers live large, be different, and shine bright. A lot of what Doug and Joshua write about doesn’t seem to get much sermon time, but these topics are definitely worthy of consideration and experimentation–

Brand new in the store:

This is a new sermon series from Doug Fields and Josh Griffin. It’s a great series on the beatitudes.

Here’s more details:

Guess what? Life as a follower of Christ isn’t designed to be dull, boring, or sad. In fact, Jesus wants you to be happy! But God’s definition of happiness is quite different from the way our culture interprets and promotes. God doesn’t want us to focus our energy and efforts on pursuing happiness that is defined by our feelings and emotions. Instead, we can seek happiness that is experienced as we follow God’s plan–

How would you like to loose a few pounds? Well we are having a “I Am a Loser” contest to help jump start some healthy living. Join the men of the podcast (Doug, Josh, and Matt) as they embark on 12 week challenge to loose a few pounds. Here are the rules:

  1. Weigh-in on Friday, December 4, 2009 (Or, if you’re not going to the SYM Conference, you can weigh in anywhere from December 4-7)
  2. Send two photos of (1) scale weight and (2) “before” photo of yourself
  3. Contest will run 12 weeks, ending on Friday February 26th (first night of Simply Youth Ministry Conference for those attending. For those not attending, contest ends 12 weeks after weigh-in date)
  4. The winners will be the ones with the greatest percentage of weight lost at the end of 12 weeks.
  5. Prizes to be announced soon (to those entering contest)
  6. Weight loss coaching available from Matthew McNutt (current youth pastor and former Biggest Loser contestant who lost 170+ pounds–