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Don’t Cancel Youth Group in the Summer

Don’t Cancel Youth Group in the Summer

“Our church cancels our normal youth ministry programming during the summer.” I’m surprised how many times I’ve heard this from youth pastors all around the country. It surprises me because there isn’t a church I’ve previously served at that does this. Sure we have modified things over the summer, but we never canceled over the summer. In fact, I believe we maybe have even doubled-down on our gatherings during the summer months.
Let’s explore this “summer is canceled phenomenon” for a few moments and see where we can land. 
First, as with anything we might want to explore, it’s a good idea to start with scripture. Are there any scriptures which lead us to believe that gathering or not gathering is “unbiblical” in any way? 
I don’t believe so. Now surely we know Hebrews 10:25 and the importance of gathering together. But we aren’t talking about not gathering forever, just for the summer. So I think we can say, Biblically speaking, we are in the clear in this area. 
Next, the question could be, why DOES it make sense to stop meeting in the summer?
Here are THREE reasons why you might want to cancel your normal summer programming:
1. Trips - so many of your students are traveling for sports, or family trips, or band camp, or…or… or… Just meaning there are a lot of students who might be traveling over the summer, and the decreased numbers in your ministry could leave you and others feeling like youth ministry isn’t worth it. So it is easier to cancel normal programming over the summer.
2. Vacation - You are going to be headed out for a week on vacation. You have worked hard for the past 12 months and will work really hard when school comes back into session in August and September, so you deserve a vacation. And if you are gone, it is too hard to enlist all the help needed to prepare for your time away. So it is easier to cancel normal programming over the summer.
3. Break - your students and adult leaders need a break during the summer months. Just as much as one needs a vacation a few times a year, it could be good for the youth ministry to take a break and allow for a reset of sorts to come back in the fall rejuvenated and ready to go!
This summer is unique, for sure. We are still in a COVID-19 world and all the social distancing requirements that come with it. Maybe your church is gathering again, but the age-graded ministry options haven’t yet fully returned. Plus, this spring, our time together was stolen by COVID-19. 
For some of us, this summer is the first time since February we are able to gather together in a normal youth ministry programming schedule. This summer you might be meeting normally as you would in March. And with that… SO AWESOME!

I leave you with one thing to think about if you decide about canceling youth ministry programming in the summer...
Could we be communicating to students, and their families, when we cancel in the summer that church is a seasonal event?
Just meaning that if we cancel, does it send messages to our students and the world that our mission isn’t essential? Does it program our students to take a break from their faith in the summer months for the rest of their lives?
I am not sure either. But I believe it is worth exploring in your church and community with your trusted team.
Maybe the summer DOES modify a bit. Maybe we need to start with the end in mind and reverse engineer our summer to ensure we are accomplishing what we believe God has impressed upon us. 
Here is what I do know for a fact… You must CAST VISION for your youth ministry in the summertime. You must cast this vision to your church staff, your volunteer team, the parents of your students, and your students. Let them know, as clearly as possible, what is going on this summer and what the LORD is telling you your ministry needs this summer. 
To cancel or not to cancel isn’t the question. The real question is what does God want for your students this summer. Then work your fingers to the bone to make it a reality. Your students are worth it!
Youth Ministry Doesn’t Stop!

Robbie and Jake talk about all 3 of these games in the video below!

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