Continued from Part 1
Preparedness is the key to survival. Implementing a few of these things can make the difference between merely surviving during summer and thriving during the summer. Here are some helpful guidelines to make the most out of your summer ministry.
Empower your leadership! Hopefully you have your own format of youth ministry council, whether that be youth, adults, or a mixture of two. At my church, we have a youth council and an adult council that combine to form an outreach team and a discipleship team (with adults and youth on both). This is a model that we’ve found to be effective but your leadership structure may vary. Whatever the structure, be sure to empower them for leadership during the summer. The summer can be an excellent opportunity to teach valuable leadership skills and the variety of events and schedules allows for many teachable moments. In our church we go by the 3 E’s – Equip, Empower, and Encourage. Make sure you’re giving your leadership team the skill set they need to accomplish the given task. Make sure you give your leadership real responsibility and empower them to do the ministry. And never…ever…ever stop encouraging them. Mark DeVries has a great chapter in his book entitled Family Based Youth Ministry that talks about how many times youth-empowerment programs can become youth-abandonment programs. Work hard to equip, empower, and encourage your leadership to do ministry this summer.
Take a breather! Yes…summertime is when many youth workers earn their keep but be sure not to run yourself ragged. Be sure to practice healthy self care. Make time to talk with your senior pastor about adequate time off. Most senior pastors realize that for youth workers summer is a different animal. We’re out a lot, sometimes gone for weeks at a time away from our families and away from our own beds. Arrange time off following big trips and big events. Of course, don’t take advantage but realize that if you burn yourself out during the summer, you’re early fall programming more than likely will suffer.
Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate! Often times our planning for activities and ministries ends at the start of the event. We don’t follow through and we don’t take time to evaluate the use of our time, money, and energy. Get in the habit of evaluating everything. Schedule an additional fifteen minutes after every event, trip, or activity where you gather your leadership team and volunteers and ask some simple, yet probing, questions. Encourage honesty and objectivity. If your volunteers and leadership teams know this is a scheduled time, they will be more apt to follow through with their assignments for the event.
Some questions we always ask are…
1) Where was the Holy experienced?
2) What worked well?
3) What didn’t work well?
4) Do we want to do this event again?
5) What will we do differently next time?