Summer is here and our junior high students are left dealing with hours and hours of free time. Although they have baseball, softball, camps, and a multitude of other activities in the summer months, they still have a lot of spare time. The question for leaders to consider is, “How do we keep junior high students connected during the summer?” Many youth groups have their numbers drop drastically during the summer; as a result they cancel part or all of their programming. Many students can go the entire summer with out attending church or even opening their Bible. This is not ok. We must figure out how to keep them connected. Students aren’t anti-church in the summer, but we may have to adjust our plan of attack. Here are a couple of ideas:
1. Plan outdoor activities.
Plan a trip to a pool, water park or theme park. Schedule some time to have a junior high family picnic. Plan ahead for these events and start advertising them before summer comes around.
2. Schedule a spiritual emphasis.
Prepare a special summer ministry plan and promote it for your junior high students. Plan an exciting series of messages and activities during your groups meeting time that your students don’t want to miss. Don’t lose momentum in the summer. Even if you do have a little smaller group, keep moving them in the right direction. Junior high students can make life-changing decisions during the summer.
3. Be available.
Don’t sit in your office all summer. Be deliberate about contacting your students for lunch, golfing, supply hunting for youth group or even help you with yard work. Spend time with junior high students (be specific with making sure you don’t show favoritism in this). This will build trust and let them see you outside the building.
Contact your students on a regular basis during the summer. Whether it is through social media, texting, or even and old-fashioned phone call, do it. Make sure that you are available as aa student or parent need arises. This will make you a part of their life instead of just that guy at the church.
Follow this plan or tweek it for yourself and you will find that summer isn’t just to sit back and relax. You might find that it is one of your most effective times to do ministry.
This guest post was written by Terry Goodwin. Terry has been working with Junior High Students for the past 12 years. He currently works as Junior High Minister at Second Church of Christ in Danville, IL. He is also the creator of JuniorHighMinistry.org (your source for everything junior high).