This coming weekend marks the official beginning of summer. The weather keeps getting warmer and the days keep getting longer. Schools across our region are wrapping up classes for the year and students and families are shifting into the new reality that summer brings. Whether you are talking about summer jobs, weeks at camp, family vacations, sleeping in, or trips to the beach it is clear that summer brings with it a new rhythm of life.
This is also true of church ministry. Summer brings a new shape of ministry to the local church. Some ministries take a break for July and August while others start up or intensify. As a pastor responsible for children’s and youth ministry, I have found the summer months to be among my busiest and most exciting. In this blog post I want to share some practical ideas and resources around one summer ministry reality that many of our churches will be experiencing – summer students.
Many of our churches receive funding from government programs to hire summer students (If you have questions or would like information on how to do this for next year feel free to contact us). Here are some of my thoughts on how the church and student can get the most out of this experience:
- View this primarily as an opportunity for leadership development. This is a great opportunity to pour into the life of the student(s) you hire. As you invest in the student leader the church will benefit from their ministry.
- Schedule time with the student(s) for devotions and prayer. This is a great opportunity for discipleship!
- Work through a book with them. Step Up by Denise Vaneck is one great option (http://www.amazon.ca/Step-Up-Becoming-Leader-Made/dp/0310700000/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402932439&sr=8-1&keywords=Step+Up+Denise) Do you have other suggestions for books? Mention them in the comments!
- If they are working with youth or children, enroll them in the Horizons online training course and build this into their schedule. Contact jacqueline.derrah@baptist-atlantic for more information on how to do this.
- Provide clear accountability and supervision. Don’t micromanage but make sure they know what’s expected, who they are accountable to, and that they are not alone.
- Give them significant ministry opportunity. Equip them and also empower them for ministry in the areas of their giftedness. Give them real responsibility and freedom to help shape things. Allow them to lead!
- Show grace. Not every idea or decision your student makes will be the right one. When mistakes are made, lovingly use them as another opportunity to help the young leader develop.
What other thoughts do you have around summer students? What has worked well in your setting and experience?