Friday, August 26, 2016

Investing Extra in Summer

If you are like me you enjoy the ministry opportunities that take you out of the office.  As youth workers it’s in our DNA to want to spend time with students to build those relationships and watch students grow in their faith.  It is what our breed is all about.

Two summers ago I started a gathering on Wednesday mornings at a local coffee shop, we call it Summer Perks.  It is for high school students, those going into 9th grade through graduates.   Its great because it requires no real planning, no curriculum, just takes some publicity and encouragement.  We have had as many as twelve attend and as few as one.  It varies from week to week according to students’ work schedules and family vacations, etc.  

We get together from 9 to 10 and order our breakfast or coffee/smoothies.  The coffee shop we use has a separate room they let us use with a big barn door that rolls shut to give us some quiet so we can talk.

Basically we take time for students to share something they are learning in their daily quiet time or something God is teaching them in life.  Occasionally this will spur some questions or input from others.  After we take about a half hour or so doing in discussion and sharing we share prayer requests and spend some time praying together.  I always love to hear a student pray.

My tips:
1.  Pick a day and stick with it.
2.  It's not about numbers it's about relationships so don't get bummed if it's only one student.
3.  Let them do the talking.  Share one thing from your own quiet time as an example but let them do the bulk of the sharing.
4.  Only high schoolers.  Figure out something different to do with middle school kids.  High school students can drive and need some time away from the middle school students if your group is a mixed group like ours is.
5.  Promote it on social media and at your weekly youth group meeting.
6.  Share with parents in your monthly email to them and let them know what Summer Perks is about.

This week was our final Summer Perk get together.  It was a beautiful sunny day and the temp outside was perfect.  We were able to snag the nice outdoor deck seating area to meet for our final get together of summer.  I heard students share about the importance of prayer, forgiveness, urgency to share their faith, discovering how daily Bible reading makes their life better, all very encouraging to hear from high school students.  It was a moment where I sat and thought to myself “this is what student ministry is about”.  Another Summer Perks done and I’m already looking forward to next summer!

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