As part of a special summer series, Alabama youth ministers will be writing about various topics that are relevant to those involved in Student Ministries in any roles.
Our third guest is Larry Hyche, minister of discipleship at First Baptist Church, Decatur.
How many times have you seen this play out? During summer ministry opportunities, you see students going the extra mile, doing things you’ve never seen before (in a good way): serving, teaching, working, mentoring, evangelizing and crying.
They are growing in their “goodness, knowledge, perseverance, godliness and brotherly kindness,” attributes found in 1 Peter 2:5-8.
Many student ministries experience a disconnect between their summer ministry high and the rest of the year. Here are just a few practical practices to capitalize on the summer momentum.
Diagnose where the high comes from. As students begin to transform into their new “summer-selves,” help them understand what atmosphere adjustments took place.
Depending on the event or trip, chances are there are some common changes or symptoms:
- Surrounded by other Christians.
- Getting a regular diet of Scripture through devotionals, teaching and music.
- Focused on serving or living for God.
None of this is unique to a location. Help them to see that it’s possible to live in this kind of environment all year. It will require discipline, but it’s possible to do this in January as well June.
Display pics of summer victories.
Sounds too simple, right? Don’t neglect the power of a picture. What you display reveals what you celebrate.
If you value life change, then post pics of baptisms along with the person’s story. If you value outreach, then we will see pics of the missions trip or summer community events.
This simple act sends a powerful message of what your ministry values and expects of students and volunteers.
Drop reminders all year.
Not only can the summer successes provide ripe reminders that it’s possible to live out one’s faith, but summer momentum can be used to spur on a similar lifestyle year round.
If students slip back into bad habits or form new ones, remind them of the summer atmosphere. Help them discover what changed from the great summer experience to the present.
Chances are they will know which of the three symptoms changed to send them on a downward slope.
Drive them towards the same victories all year.
Even before summer is over, begin pointing them towards other ministry opportunities in the near future. Get them plugged in on a regular basis so that their “atmosphere” of summer doesn’t change.
What does your ministry offer that would help keep them in this discipline? Make sure the students and parents know what’s offered.
As they plug in and lives are changed, you’ll have new victories to celebrate along the way.
The world offers so many distractions for students in their average school year, which – good or bad, keep them from making every effort to grow spiritually and in spiritual disciplines as mentioned in 1 Peter 2.
Summer is a great time to help students realize that being productive and effective in Christ is possible and expected for all followers of Christ year-round.