Want to score $100 from Simply Youth Ministry? All you have to do is leave a comment with a caption to this historic photo of HSM’s summer interns at an 80′s-themed ice skating event last week. Get on it – winner announced Friday!

JG

Summer is crazy busy! And while the amount of activities and schedule vary from ministry to ministry, there’s no denying that summer can be a challenging time of year.

So how do you make the most of summer activities? Here are a few ways that might help you fall in love with summer as your favorite season of ministry:

Give your summer interns or key volunteers a chance to lead.
Take the summer off from teaching—and work on getting some of your people up front. Better yet, consider asking students to teach a series as well. Just because you’re not speaking doesn’t mean that it won’t be work for you helping coach them and assist in crafting their talks, but the effort will be worth it. You get a chance to listen and be refreshed while less experienced teachers are being developed.

Try something new…really new.
This summer, we brainstormed up a ton of new ways to engage students. We came up with something that is super new … The Zombie Apocalypse. The whiteboard is filled with ideas on how to make this thing epic – think capture-the-flag + zombies and you’ll get the idea. Will it work? Will I (Josh) lose my job? Who knows, but no one will say we’re content with the same old summer activities. HA! If you need ideas, and didn’t read last week’s articles…shame on you. Now that you are shamed, go read those for a bunch of ideas.

Capture as many text numbers as you can.
Use the summer to expand your contact list. For us, it’s our texting group—we want this to grow significantly heading into fall. This will help you message a ton more students when you start promoting small groups or your fall kickoff teaching series. When a student signs up for an event, make one of the required fields their phone number and a check-box allowing you to text them. They can opt out on their phones at any time.

I think we’ve said this enough the past 2 weeks, but it’s because we don’t want you to miss it! Relationships are the point; don’t lose sight of that during summer. Whatever you plan is pretty much an excuse to have conversations and challenge students in their faith. Make the most of your summer activities!

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.



Summer Idea Lab

Josh Griffin —  June 11, 2012 — 5 Comments

Summer is a great time to try new things…and that’s what we’re doing! Here are a few things we’re kicking off in this next season that might inspire you to try something new as well. Share what you’re excited about in the comments, too!

Worship Together Weekends
Starting in July we’re going to cancel our “youth group” services and worship as a whole church—young and old. Our pastor is going to do his best to address students in his message, and the various other service elements are going to be designed to include or at least acknowledge the whole church worshiping as one.

We’re so excited about this change in our church, because in our setting it doesn’t happen naturally. Chances are your church could use a little “inter-generational kick in the pants,” too. Summer is a great time to something a try.

Youth Ministry Instagram Account
We just created an Instagram account for our student ministry—fun pictures taken on the spot at summer events or up at camp will instantly be shared with parents and other students. We’ll have them dropped onto our Facebook page as well. A simple, fun way to instantly connect with people who aren’t on the trip or waiting for word back home.

Prayer Walk at High Schools
This past weekend our student leaders organized a prayer walk at the main high schools represented in our youth group. The idea was simple but effective—kind of like a “See You at the Pole” but we didn’t want to wait until the fall. So we met at the flagpole, prayed together and then walked through the campus (empty since it was on a weekend) and prayed for the students, teachers, and staff that are represented in each area you walk. Football field: Pray for the athletes.

Walk by the school office? Pray for the principal, etc. Then after about a half hour everyone met up for food at a local fast-food joint, too. So fun! In the summer, you could pick the most convenient day of the week for your group.

So there are a few ideas from us—look for a handful more tomorrow as well! What new ideas are you most excited about this summer?

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.

I love movies. As in, I’ve watched 85 films already this year, which averages to around 3 a week, if my math is correct. Some might call me a movie snob; I prefer the term “cinephile.” While one could argue that film is a big waste of time and money, I believe filmmakers are theologians of sorts. They tell us stories that both reflect and shape our cultural values, including our views of humanity and God. The movie theater becomes a sanctuary, a 2-hour respite from the summer heat and boredom. In the youth ministry world, movie theaters–alongside malls–become the centers of summer activity for many of our students.

Your students are not only watching movies this summer, their views are being inherently shaped by them whether they realize it or not. Students tend to approach films in one of three ways. Some are sponges–they mindlessly soak up anything and everything that a film offers, including messages and values that are intrinsically unBiblical. Others are funnels–they mindlessly avoid all cinema (and all other media, for that matter) and let it slide past them due to its supposed sinfulness. Finally, some are sieves (or colanders, or strainers, or whatever word you prefer for that thing you use when making spaghetti!)–they wisely filter which movies to watch or avoid, using a Biblical filter for discerning the messages that films are presenting, and critiquing films based on Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

People don’t become sieves on their own. Students need wise and discerning people to watch movies with them in order to have conversations that go deeper than, “yeah, that was a cool movie.” They need someone who will take them to a film, then take them out for ice cream or coffee afterwards in order to intentionally have that spiritual conversation. They need someone who will expose them to films that reflect the beauty of our Creator that they might not otherwise watch. They need someone who will hold them accountable to the films that they watch, lest they become sponges like the majority of teens around them. They need to know why a film isn’t okay to watch, not just what is wrong with it.

So go watch a film. Invite some students along. And expect Jesus to show up at the movies with you.

Joel Mayward is first and foremost a follower of Jesus, which is the foundation for his love of his wife Katie, and son, Copeland. Joel loves pondering all the interconnections between film, theology, and youth ministry. He is the high school pastor at Red Mountain Community Church in Mesa, AZ. You can read his movie reviews and youth ministry musings on his blog.