As graduation season quickly approaches, we turn our attention to summer. The three months (give or take) of summer break present us with unique opportunities and challenges in youth ministry. Some programs shut down completely while others keep a full schedule all the way through the summer. As you begin to decide what your ministry will look like this summer – I humbly offer a couple of suggestions to keep in mind:
- Summer is not time for youth ministry hibernation! Teens have more time to get involved during the summer and often are looking for something to do! Use this to your advantage. Make sure there are plenty of opportunities for relational ministry throughout the summer.
- Summer programming should be more than just camps and conferences! Most of the teens at your parish will not be able to join you on a trip this summer. Make sure that all your attention isn’t just on the teens who will be traveling with you.
- Summer should feel different than the rest of the year! The teens are in a different mind set during the summer and the ministry should reflect this. Include more time for socials, games, and activities that aren’t possible during the school year. Be creative and have fun!
We are here to serve you and your teens. We pray that this summer is filled with opportunities for your teens to encounter the living God as well as a time for you to be rejuvenated in your ministry. Most especially, we want you to have plenty of time to hang out with teens! We have put together a list of resources and programming ideas that will make your summer programming simple and fresh. Many of these are probably already on your shelf!
Summer Book Club (hey – if Oprah can have one so can we)
Summer is the perfect time for teens and adults to pick up a book and take their time reading. Here are a few ideas for your teens and your Core team for their summer reading.
- Blessed are the Bored in Spirit
During the school year, it is difficult to get Core members to pick up and read a book. Now that summer is here Core and teens will be looking for the perfect book to read on their vacation; invite them all to read Blessed are the Bored in Spirit. After reading, gather for a Life Teen Book Club. Download a copy of the follow-up questions to Blessed are the Bored in Spirit that Mark Hart recently created in the Free Resources page under “Freebie Friday” on ym.lifeteen.com. It will allow you to take the reading experience to a deeper level. Use it with your teens, Core or with your parish young adult group.
- 100 Things Every Catholic Teen Should Know
Your copy of 100 Things Every Catholic Teen Should Know should not just be a dust-collector on a bookshelf. This book is a perfect mid-week discussion group for your teens to address some of the more controversial and misunderstood teachings of the Catholic Church. Purchase a copy from our Online Store for your teens and pick out 3-4 different topics each week and engage in some great discussions. Take the time, too, to read through the additional Scripture verses and CCC references included after every topic!
- The Sword of the Spirit: A Beginners Guide to St. Paul
Pope Benedict XVI has called the entire Church to focus on the role and example of St. Paul from June 2008 through June 2009. Make this summer the summer of St. Paul and prepare your teens to discover the power of one of our Churches greatest martyrs writings and message. Take full advantage of our latest paperback, The Sword of the Spirit: A Beginners Guide to St. Paul, as well as the St. Paul retreat, Unstoppable! Purchase a copy of The Sword and the Spirit for your Core and teens for a great summer Bible study or book club. Follow-up and discussion questions for each chapter will also be available for download on ym.lifeteen.com.
Who says the Saint studies stop after Confirmation classes come to a close? Not Life Teen! We created Saintbook so even during the summer we are reminded how we too can live a life of sainthood. Try this for a new idea: “saint of the week” studies. Explore a new saint each week with or take a month and delve deeply into Scripture while praying a different decade of the Rosary each week. You can find ten meditations for all twenty mysteries, so even the most “Spiritually ADHD” teens can enter more deeply into each mystery between each Hail Mary. There are so many ways to bring Saintbook to life with your teens, by the end of the summer you will be amazed by their conversion.
If you are looking to the perfect youth gatherings to follow-up Steubenville trips, camps or leadership conferences this summer, we have two easy options for you that require a TV, DVD player, adult leader and teens.
- Best of I.V. DVD and Leader’s Manual
This 3 DVD set and Leader’s Manual of our best video resources provides quality discussion questions, Scripture and Catechism references for quick and easy youth gatherings. If you need a quick resource at your disposal that is effective, challenging for teens and fun, pick up your copy of Best of I.V. and explore themes such as: forgiveness, human dignity, chastity, discipleship, evangelization, the Mass, sin, vocations and relationships.
- Webcast DVD: Volume 1 and Leader’s Manual
Similar to the Best of I.V., Webcast DVD: Volume 1 provides short videos previously only available on www.lifeteen.com. We took all the best videos and formatted them for the big screen and created an easy-to-use leaders guide for last minute youth gatherings. Created by Life Studios, our Webcast DVD: Volume 1 contains 27 different webcasts on a variety of topics including: chastity and dating, obeying your parents, Mary’s role in our Catholic faith, practicing modesty in dress, and overcoming low self-esteem.
Summer is a great time to take teens deeper into Scripture. Here are three great options for a summer Bible Study series:
- Thy Kingdom Come: A T3 Study of Mathew’s Gospel
Introduce your teens to the authentic Jesus of the gospels and allow them to enter into the drama of Christ’s family tree, the birth of our Savior, His duel in the dessert with Satan, and the life-changing truths of His Sermon on the Mount. Who needs a family vacation in a Winnebago when you can caravan with Jesus and apostles as they learn about the inception of the Catholic Church, the papacy and the Sacraments, firsthand?
- T3: The Teen Timeline
If you are looking for an entertaining and informative foundational Bible study for your teens, check our T3: The Teen Timeline. T3 is the foundational teen Bible study based on the popular Great Adventure Bible Timeline seminar. T3 unpacks God’s Word in a manner teens can relate to by showing them the “big picture” of salvation history, and it gives them an overview of Scripture—and then leads them deeper into its riches.
- God’s Word in Their World
Life Teen’s Liturgy Planning Guide has a gift waiting for you. Every Sunday includes a ready-made weekly Bible Study based on the Sunday readings. Use this along with the Life Teen podcast “Sunday Sunday Sunday” for a dynamic and relevant way to break open next Sunday’s readings.
So there you have it; fast, easy, fun, creative and new ideas for summer 2008! All these resources are available on our online store at www.lifeteen.com. Make this summer fresh and allow Life Teen to take some stress off in planning unique youth gatherings that keep you cool. You are in our prayers!