I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who happens to be a youth pastor at a local church in our area. We were discussing summer plans, camps, and other youth pastor stuff which led us to an interesting topic.
How can we keep the momentum up through the summer months of July and August?
I am not a youth ministry guru by any stretch, however, over the last three summers we have established an eight week summer internship program that has really helped us.
It’s open to middle school, high school, and college-aged students. It’s been really helpful in giving our students a purpose for their summer besides waking up at 10 am, watching the Price is Right and having another bowl of Lucky Charms.
One of our incoming high school students had his life radically changed through his participation last summer. Josh McArthur will be a freshman at Kentridge HS this September and is already an influential leader in our youth ministry and church.
Josh told me, “Summer interns is an opportunity for students to increase their level of influence and take an ownership role in what happens at the church.”
Josh flourished and found a niche as a video creator/editor last summer. He also started a campus ministry at his school that averaged over 30 students a week.
Another one of our key high school leaders, DJ Marin, mentioned that summer internship was, “a purpose-full way to spend the summer.” DJ continued, “So many students take a break during the summer and get distracted; I wanted to use my summer to grow. I grew in relationship with God and in leadership.”
In many ways I see our summer internship program as the foundational work for a great school year. Though it may sound counter-intuitive, I feel as if the growth our ministry has experienced over the last couple years is directly tied to our intentional investment in our students through the summer.
July and August are traditionally lean attendance months and yet I believe capitalizing and maximizing these months is huge when it comes to reaping a harvest of growth in the fall.
The Uprising begins Wednesday July 13th.