Monday, May 27, 2013


It's finally here!

Most students share in that sentiment proclaiming, "YES! Summer is finally here!"

I, actually, tend to prefer the school year better for ministry.

Sure, I like sitting by the pool more, and the nicer weather, as does my wife, but all in all I prefer the school year.

I remember last year I got hired mid-summer. I tried all I could to take advantage of all the new relationships that were now sitting on my doorstep.  We would (try- see canoe trip) do stuff all the time. It was still in like that awkward-I-don't-really-know-or-trust-you-phase.

One day, in fact we met for lunch. I just tossed out a random invitation to students to come chill at Chick-fil-a with my wife and I.

I was still brand new to the church and it was kinda awkward. Only because didn't know the students very well yet. I felt like I was this crazy super awkward new youth pastor type figure now in their lives and I just expected to have completely natural interactions. It probably wasn't that bad, but to me, I felt like an awkward middle school boy on his first day. You know how that day felt, right? Everyone was seemly staring at your. You tried to fit in perfectly. But then your shoe got untied, you stepped on it and tripped and everyone pointed and laughed. Ok- that didn't really happen, it just was like my biggest fear.

I wore lace-less shoes to Chick-fil-a that day, hoping to avoid anything awkward, just to be safe.

Plus youth group was still weird, and everyone, including me, was trying to figure out the boundaries, identify expectations. Address protocol. Just navigating the unwritten rules.

Sitting at Chick-fil-a I uttered the most evil words that a high schooler could possibly have ever heard, "I can't wait til school starts back up."

I think I saw a trickle of blood come out of one of their ears.

I totally believed this lie: the school year is where true ministry happens. Volunteer youth workers are in town. Programs are much higher energy. Budgets are more plump. Students are in school, they are inviting more friends.

All of the above may be true, but when you believe that the school year is the only time true ministry can happen you are believing a lie from the enemy! Satan wants you to feel like an awkward middle school boy at a dance during the summer, so that you don't take advantage of it!

Here is why summer deserves our attention-

  • Students are out of school
  • More free time
  • More natural relationships to take place
  • Nicer weather, easier events to plan
  • More relaxed
  • More flexibility
  • Less strict rules and time constraints
  • Summer trips happen
Take advantage of the freedom that is now available to you and your students. Summer is often the most fruitful time for ministry, though it is outside our traditional programming. Things out of the norm can happen. Random fast food meals. Day-long trips. Summer trips.

There is nothing scientific about these trips, except for the underlying fact that we are together all the time, thrust into a stressful ministry environment, on mission together, and it's amazing to see the walls break down for students, chaperons, and leaders alike. Life change just happens!

Summer has incredible potential. Does that mean that the school year doesn't work? Not at all! But it is just different.

Instead of being intimidated by the different scheduling and flexibility, embrace it. If you do, incredible things can happen!

Just tie your shoe.

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