This time, we discussed dynamics between Summer vs Fall programming, how to kick off the fall semester, and how to intentionally build for summer trips like MOVE and MIX.
You guys shared some great ideas, advice, and questions. Here's our attempt to distill some of the highlights.
Summer vs Fall
Most of you expressed that summer tends to be more hangout and community building, rather than teaching oriented. This gives a good opportunity for leaders to take a break if they need to, and also for more experimentation in programming. It also is more flexible for summer travel schedules.
One particular idea stood out for summer: "Home Invasions," where students are invited to someone's home to swim, have campfire worship, and share testimonies.
Having students and leaders sharing testimonies was a strong idea with many of you, and you found it even motivates students to invite friends to hear their stories.
For fall programming, it's back to the solid core for many of you: a weekly gathering for worship, connection, games, teaching, breakout discussions, and more.
How to kick things off with a lot of energy and momentum? How about creating and teasing a yearly theme, complete with graphic designs, shirts, and more? This gets kids hyped for the beginning of programming, and helps create continuity for the year.
Also shared was a strategy of intentionally choosing teaching and themes for the year that will both lead out of the summer trips, but also lead into the next summer's trips. Helping prepare the students, not just with content, but with the attitudes and postures that will enable them to have a great experience.
Many of you expressed how important it is to continue the impact of the summer trips, in particular following up with students who made decisions, and helping them to really engage a lifestyle that supports and furthers that commitment. Whether it's serving in an area of ministry, engaging with deeper study, or really pursuing and completing their Kingdom Worker Cards.
The (Volunteer) Struggle is Real
We wrapped up the Round Table with some questions, commiseration, and some encouragement around how to best equip, empower, love, and manage our volunteer leaders. Every great youth ministry has a solid backbone of committed adult leaders pouring their lives into students. How can we best recruit, develop, and care for them?
We discussed how important it is to be present in the leader's lives. To really care about them and know them. Also important is our own preparation and training, which shows them the respect they deserve. When we show up prepared and engaged, it helps them trust us, and know that we're not wasting their time.
We're going to have more of these awesome Round Table discussions soon! Stay tuned to the CIY Student Ministry Facebook Group for the details.