Summer is almost here! Whether you lead a college ministry or invest in the lives of young adults in some other capacity, the summer can be a great opportunity to change up your normal ministry rhythms to try out some new ideas and to add some much-needed REST to your annual calendar. Every ministry context is different, but perhaps one of these summer ideas will be a good way to change up your typical ministry plan.
- Don’t do the discussion.
By this, I mean don’t YOU lead the discussion. Vibrant discussion is always a key component of ministry with young adults. Summer can feel a little more laid-back and can be an opportunity to let some of your core young adults step up and have an opportunity to lead. Whether it is the whole summer or maybe just one month, open up the schedule to let some of your normal ministry participants experience a role reversal and take on the task of leading the Bible study or discussion time for your group.
If you don’t feel comfortable completely opening it up, you could approach a few of the folks in your ministry who you think are the most ready to lead and encourage them to try it out. You can also give members the option of partnering up so that no one feels they are carrying the weight of leading the discussion on their own.
- Focus on fellowship.
I’ve never met a young adult who didn’t like a good party. When planning out your summer schedule, be sure to make room for some extra fellowship time. You might want to substitute one regular meeting a month to be a special fellowship time. Perhaps you could initiate a “First Fridays” program during the summer where you plan a different outing on the first Friday of each month. Another idea would be to change your typical Bible studies into supper clubs for the summer. Let your young adults cook for one another and eat together in homes. Intentional effort given to let your young adults enjoy being TOGETHER is sure to be a boost to your ministry.
- Change the core content.
Okay, maybe I’m letting the alliteration take over here. If you normally base your weekly small group on a discussion of the sermon, use the summer to change it up and do a short-term Bible study. If you normally use a set curriculum, the summer could be a great time to pause and read through a book together. Taking a brief break from your typical routine brings out a whole new learning opportunity while also breathing life and freshness into your normal group gatherings when you return to your typical plan.
- Take some time for training.
In case you didn’t know, there are a couple of great opportunities during the summer to meet up with others who are in the midst of college and young adult ministry. These are refreshing gatherings filled with brainstorming, networking, training breakouts, and lots of opportunities for one-on-one conversations. We’d love for you to join us for the Summer College Ministers’ Fellowship or the Leader Track during Collegiate Week. If you can’t make it to one of these specific events, the summer is still a great time to plan a meet up with someone else in your area who ministers to young adults.
- Enjoy permission to pause.
Maybe the best option for your group during the summer is to stop your regular meeting schedule altogether. You are probably tired and the young adults are probably feeling a little bit of group fatigue as well. If you are the type of leader who needs a blog article to give you permission to hit the pause button, then consider this permission granted. A season of rest might just be the very thing your group needs in the coming months to start back in the Fall refreshed and ready to engage the college students and/or young adults in your community. An official time of rest can also serve as the open door to a lot of impromptu, organic ministry opportunities and gatherings throughout the summer … planned and initiated by someone other than you.
There you go, a few ideas to consider as we move into the summer months. Regardless of whether you use all or one or none of these ideas, it is exciting to dream about the ministry canvas that is stretched out in front of us over the next few months. I pray this will be a time of both rest and ministry fruitfulness. If you to take me up on #4, I’ll look forward to a face-to-face conversation!
Bill Noe is the Collegiate Ministry Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. A former campus minister (and current collegiate ministry volunteer at church), Bill loves being a part of seeing college students grow in their walk with the Lord. Connect with Bill on Twitter.