This summer will be different from the ones we’re used to. It will unlike anything we’ve experienced before! With the lingering effects of COVID-19 still around, what might the summer hold for you and your team?
- School is cancelled for this rest of this year. (Enhanced e-learning summer school is available, and although some of your students are itching to get into those programs, likely most will not).
- Graduations and other celebrations are on hold.
- There will be no overnight camps.
- There will be significant restrictions to day camps (which is why many have already closed for the summer).
- Families who normally take summer vacations likely won’t be able to, whether because restrictions are still in place or because finances are more limited than before the pandemic. For some, unemployment will continue… well, we’re not sure how long.
So what might this unprecedented summer look like for your youth ministry? Here a few thoughts to consider:
- Consistency will still be key both for you as a planner and for your participants. Like any relationship, consistent connection is important, but in a world that seems to be changing at a moment’s notice it’s vital. At the time of this writing, the curve seems to be flattening and things are settling down. But that can change, and we may need to deal with heightened urgencies once again. Allow your youth ministry to be a consistent touch point even in informal ways.
- Of course, consistent contact doesn’t mean you can’t rest. Many of you, have been going hard since the middle of March; ministering as best as you can and figuring out new ways of connecting. You may need some rest. Be up front about that and take what you need for the care of your mind, soul and body.
- Don’t assume you’ll move into your “normal” summer programming. For many families, July and August will not be normal. With camps closed and travel still restricted, children and youth will be home a lot more. As one person said to me, “There isn’t a template for this.” This is a great chance to explore how your youth can grow in faith.
- See this summer as an opportunity to experiment and transition to whatever the next phase is. If this summer won’t be the same, it’s likely the fall won’t be as well. So, begin to appropriately try different forms of ministry, connections and serving that are different from what’s traditional/conventional. Look out for the elements that you feel will have a longer sustainable impact and begin to understand how those best fit into your youth ministry’s rhythms in the coming months.
- You don’t have to navigate this alone. Given our digital connections, you have a wide reach of people, including within your CBOQ family, from whom you can gain insights and feedback. (If you need help with that, contact Alvin.)
This summer will not be like any summer we’ve ever experienced. But it may be one of the memorable ones because of what God might do through it … and with you.