I’ve been seeing a lot of discussion recently around summer and Youth Ministry. I guess that’s because summer is hitting the Northern Hemisphere and many people are gearing up for summer ministry, in whatever form that takes.
For us, we take summer off. Before I get into why we do this, let me just say that I don’t think there is a ‘one size fits all’ approach to ministry, and what works for us might not fit your situation. If you don’t take summer off, or you have different reasons for taking summer off, please share in the comments section as I would love to hear about what you do!
As well as doing Youth Min, I’m a stay at home mama and my hubby works full time as a nurse. (You can read more of our story here and here). Youth is extra for us, it all comes out of our ‘free time’. Charles still works over the summer, minus two-three weeks if he can take time off. That time off is prioritised for family time, and hopefully a week away in the sun!
We need time off.
We love doing Youth and we love the group of kids we have, but by the time school is finishing up for the year we are ready for a break too. We need the break! To be able to have a week (or a month) not thinking about what’s next at Youth, and have some time away from it (mentally as well as physically) is so refreshing.
Families need time off.
As well as our family needing a break, our students’ families do too! Summer for us is not only end of year, it’s also Christmas and New Years (we’re in the Southern Hemisphere, in case you didn’t catch that) and many families head away. Many of our students have very full calendars during the school year with study or sports or music or volunteer work, so summer is a chance for them to have some unstructured time to themselves, too. Families need time to just ‘be’.
Ministry doesn’t stop.
Even when we take a break, ministry continues. Youth stops for two months, but our students know that we are still around if they need someone to talk with or pray for them. Students will still have struggles or unexpected things happening over summer. We want to be available for them if needed, and have the energy for it too.
We can prep for a big launch next year.
As well as giving us a break from thinking about Youth Min, taking summer off also gives us the space to think about Youth Min. Confused?! Let me explain. When you’re constantly thinking about something, or planning for something, sometimes you can get stuck in a rut creatively. Sometimes you just need to step back for a bit to see it again with fresh eyes. We do take time to plan for Youth the following year over summer, but before we do that we spend at least a month not thinking about it at all.
- What’s your experience? Do you continue Youth through the summer or take some time off?
- If you continue through the summer, what does that look like for you? How is it different to your regular Youth nights during the year?