Today I read this post from Kurt (of Saddleback fame) as he looked back over his group’s summer ministry schedule. Here is his comment that got me thinking toward next summer…
“It seems like the more activities we cram into our summer calendar, the worse the attendance is. I wonder if there is some universal law or formula at play that goes something like: there are only X number of students who will participate in events, and they will only participate in X number of events that cost somewhere between X and X amount of money. For sure, there are some students who come to just about everything, but most don’t….”
HSM is not a ministry that packs out the summer calendar with a ton of events. In the past we have done the shameless youth ministry things like Cedar Point trips, but have simplified recently. We change gears as we pause Wednesday nights for the summer, but most small groups keep meeting and everyone has an option as the others merge into student lead groups. We also offer 4 different options (2 HSM trips, 1 church wide trip, 1 HSM conference) that are trained/prepped and shepherded/debriefed accordingly.
While I am not in a hurry to put more things on the calendar for no purpose, I have been having a conversation like Kurt’s in my head.
To a fault we are kind of leadership/inward focused in the summer. Is it possible to keep the pace of our outreach and visitor friendly culture into the summer? We have discipleship and leadership development present in the summer, but how can we still gather?
I am convinced that summer will be different in our setting because it is impossible to consistently maintain critical mass. Almost everyone goes on a vacation or two with a camp, sports camp, team camp, or sports practice messing things up. Our own summer trips even break up hope of a consistent showing of core people in many ways.
Having said that I am dreaming of gathering people around a core event each month over the summer. Something fun enough that you want to come, but rare enough that you wouldn’t blow it off like a week to week program. But also something that isn’t dependent or a failure if numbers are down. One rallying point with no agenda other than keeping people connected. So that we a ministry have an aspect I think we are missing and so we stay gathering and connecting people through the craziness of summer schedules.
Here is my brainstorming…
JUNE-It’s ironic I am not sure what to do for the first event. I just don’t want it to be something weak that amounts to opening potato chips and playing pool in the youth room. Possible thoughts are a night of worship (possible under the starts) or we could always do the new youth ministry fallback Slip n’ Slide kickball.
JULY-Because it is so close and the first session is free to all guests, I would like to cram any and everyone I can on a bus and let 50+ people experience the Momentum conference and its incredible spirit and worship first hand. This is a no-brainer for me right now.
AUGUST-I didn’t know if this would be possible again but I am a sucker for a pool party that looks as cool as the ones in movies. You know the kind 100 people and some great music. We actually have 2 spots of people in our church I think we could pull this off. We could maybe rent a couple of public pools also.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO FOR THE SUMMER AND WHY?
ANY SUGGESTIONS OR THOUGHTS FOR US?