It’s 5:00am on a quiet June morning. I am driving a fifteen-passenger van to a church with a bunch of butterflies in my stomach. This could only mean one thing: a teen summer trip is about to happen. For me, it wasn’t just any summer trip. It was my first one. We were going to summer camp at Covecrest with my Edge teens. I thought to myself, “Can I do this?” Well, I was about to find out as I pulled into the parking lot to greet the parents and teens that had already arrived.
As I look back on the trip now, I consider it an overwhelming success. Teens’ lives were changed forever. But I remember moments when success was definitely more in question. Moments like the one when a teen cried because we were stuck in construction and couldn’t find a bathroom. Or when one of my teens broke out in hives. Oh, and there was the realization that you cannot fit fourteen teens in a fifteen passenger van with their luggage…once we were already on the road. Fun times.
If you are a veteran youth minister, chances are you can relate to this story. Or, if you are about to embark on your first summer as a youth minister, you certainly will soon. I don’t pretend to know all of the secrets of summer teen events, but here are a few pieces of advice that seem to never fail:
- Carry a master binder with all trip information in it. A go-to spot that has everything. Believe me, you’ll need it.
- Follow up is key. You’ll probably remember to hold follow-up events for your teens, but how about the parents? They are probably wondering why Jimmy is saying, “Jesus loves me so much,” after the trip.
- Schedule mandatory rest time. Other things might seem important, but making sure you don’t burn out is at the top of the list. I once heard a pastor say that not resting for the sake of ministry is a form of disobedience to God. Remember that when you are about to schedule another meeting.
- Soak in what God is doing. Some of my favorite moments of the summer are witnessing how my teens had an encounter with God and are running with it. I promise you, it will bring you life.
Above all, know this: it’s worth it. The scheduling and fundraising are worth it. The late hours and meetings are worth it. When you see a teen “get” their faith this summer, you will realize it. Keep your eyes on the prize, and try to have a little fun too.
Here in the world of events at Life Teen, we are planning and preparing for the best this summer. Whether it is a Steubenville Youth Conference, the Life Teen Leadership Conference, summer camps, or even adult training conferences, we are so excited to experience God with you this summer. We are unveiling a new service approach with the tag line, “Every Teen. Every Adult. Every Time.” What it means is that we are committed to serving every teen and adult that walks through the doors of our events in an exceptional way. You deserve our best.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being the agent that transforms hearts. Come Holy Spirit!