Student Pastor, Don't Waste Your Summer!
This is a guest post from Ben Trueblood (Director of Student Ministry for LifeWay). To see the entire series click here.
Student ministry summers can be both fruitful and challenging. It is a time when you, as a student ministry leader, become busier and the students in your ministry do the opposite. You are challenged because students have a more relaxed atmosphere and a different schedule that often negatively impacts their spiritual lives. Yes, this is a significant challenge and it is one that you should meet head on. Expect more from your students this summer and challenge them. Don’t allow another summer to be wasted! Here are three ways that you can make the most of your student ministry summer:
Consider focusing your summer toward one theme.
As you plan ask yourself the question: What is the one thing I want my students to take away from this summer? Once you answer that question, align all of your Bible studies, programming, and meetings to that one takeaway. Make sure your students see the connection between Bible studies, study topics at camp and the theme. One question you might be asking at this point is: If I focus on just one theme won’t the students get bored? The simple answer is no. One of the most challenging things about summer ministry is that as school shuts down for break, so do the students. As you know from working with students they quickly begin to shut down mentally and oftentimes spiritually. Because of this, summer is the time to be even more strategic and focused on your ministry.
Connect your students with opportunities to serve.
Many student ministries take the opportunity in the summer months to take a mission trip, which is great. However, don’t miss the ongoing opportunity you have to involve your students in missions locally. As students serve together it will help build unity within the ministry and it will help the students develop a heart for their community. These are two things that are essential to a healthy student ministry and the summer is a great time to experience growth in those areas.
Challenge your students to think.
Yes, even in the summer. Resist the temptation to take a lighter approach to Bible studies. Summer has often been the time to relax and let things go. In your student ministry, it should be a time when you stomp on the gas pedal. Show your students that the summer can be a time of tremendous spiritual growth. Model this for them in your life personally. Take the time to meet with that extra student or group of students for intentional discipleship. Choose Bible study material that will challenge them to think and engage deeply with God’s Word. This summer, The Gospel Project will spend 13 weeks studying the Triune God. This would be a great study that will challenge students to think as well as point them directly to the life-changing gospel of Jesus.
Make the most of this summer. Be strategic and focused as you enter this very important season of ministry. Deep down your students don’t want to just sit around. They want to grow this summer. They want to be challenged with God’s Word. They want to engage in the discipleship process and they want to see how the gospel impacts and transforms their lives. I pray that this summer will be one of the more fruitful summers you have seen.