10 ways to maximize your ministry this summer

This post was originally posted on the Youth Specialties blog.

As we wrap up another year of student ministry, it is nice to take a little breather and celebrate a job well done! Seriously, YOU KILLED IT! Week in and week out you provided excellent ministry and care for the wide variety of students that God has put in your path. You have loved them well, been the hands and feet of Jesus, and done good, solid ministry!

Now, with summer quickly approaching it is time to reboot, recharge, and regroup, for in a matter of 10 short weeks it will be time to gear up and do it all over again!

So, for these 10 weeks of summer, I thought I would give you 10 ways you can maximize your ministry. Summer provides for a very unique rhythm in life and ministry, so lets capitalize on that so that we can come into our falls ready to ROCK!

10)  TRIM YOUR SCHEDULE.

The academic calendar year is brutal. It is fast paced with little margins for anything outside the usual. For summer, let’s put the machine on hold, figure out the bear minimums to your ministry, and give yourselves some space. Space to breathe, space to dream, space to actually see kids, space to rest!

9) ENJOY YOUR STUDENTS.

Remember when student ministry was about connecting with actual students? With seeing them and hanging out with them? Remember not having an agenda for them? Summer is the perfect time to fall back in love with your students. With your actual students, not the idea of your students. They are bored and you have time, so get out of the office and have some fun!

8) GET OUT OF THE OFFICE.

There is absolutely no reason for you to be there.  Your job this summer is about recharging your heart and re-connecting with students.  None of this can happen in your office. Clarify your plans with your boss so you don’t get fired, then GET OUT OF THE OFFICE! Do the things that fill you up, that cause your heart to soar, and bring students along for the ride.

7) READ 2 BOOKS.

There is so much to read. Some of you will read 2 books this week, but most of us have put off our intellectual development for the urgent tasks in front of us. There should be little urgency this summer, so pick two books and read away. Grow your mind to understand theology, culture, or ministry.  This summer I am reading ADOPTIVE YOUTH MINISTRY by Chap Clark and DARING GREATLY by Brené Brown. What will you be reading?

6) SPEND EXTRA TIME IN SPIRITUAL FORMATION.

If your school year was anything like mine, I am coming to the end spiritually depleted. This is no way to lead a ministry. We must lead out of the overflow! So spend this summer making sure your heart is full. Make space to listen, to rest, to read, and reflect. Allow the Holy Spirit access to the depths of your being and don’t shy away from what God might have for you.

5) MAP OUR YOUR NEXT MINISTRY YEAR.

This is the perfect season to evaluate your last year and dream up your next year. Don’t let yourself get under the gun. Give yourself some space to dream up your next year of ministry. In fact, map out the entire thing. Map out your events, retreats, mission trips. Map out the scope and sequence of your curriculum. Even map out a new initiative you might want to launch. While you have the space, do the hard work now so you can enjoy the fall.  

4) BLESS YOUR SUPERVISOR.  

Your boss has had a difficult year as well. They may not complain to you, but doing their job is difficult and stressful. Supervising you is difficult and stressful. Consider doing something that would bless your supervisor. Bring them a coffee, take them out to lunch, ask them about their day and summer, or go to a baseball game together. See your supervisor as one of God’s precious kids whom He loves and love them the way you would want to be loved.  

3) BE SPONTANEOUS.

Hopefully you have given yourself some huge margins this summer. Instead of catching up on your Netflix shows, use this extra space to find ways to bless others. Now that you have an open hour or two, go out, be spontaneous, grab some kids, do something fun, and enjoy yourself!

2) CHANGE UP YOUR MEETING SPACE.

For our context our numbers drop off during the summer. Everyone has camps, vacations, work, and this means that less people come to church for youth group. Instead of being crushed at the numbers drop off. Change your location, pick a smaller room, a house, a back yard. The change of location makes your summer program feel new and fresh, not like the sad echo of the academic year.  

1) HAVE FUN.

Remember what fun was. It turns out we all have different things that make our hearts soar. Instead of doing what you think other people think is fun, why not simply do what you think is fun. Here is why this is so genius. If you do what is fun for you, you will actually have fun. Secondly, if you are having fun and passionate about whatever it is you are doing, then those with you will enjoy being on the ride! You have worked hard this year and served well, now it is time to take your foot off the gas and enjoy summer.

May you take these next 10 weeks to live most fully into the unique call that God has put on your life to love Jesus with all your heart, and to love students to the point that they too may consider loving Jesus as well. This is done best when you are at your best!

So turn off your computer, get out of the office, grab a student or two, and have some fun!