Summer Retreats: The Ultimate Youth Pastor Checklist

Summer camp is a HUGE deal in most youth groups.  Not only is it a great time to escape with your kids and do something fun and exciting, but you also get a chance to worship and talk to them about God.  Head to the mountains or beaches and fill the week with pillow fights, silly pranks, campfires, and games.  Oh and no sleep (there won’t be much time for that!).  Don’t forget team competitions – they build camaraderie and create the best memories! So whether you’re joining forces with other churches or doing this solo, make sure you have a game plan set for the BEST summer retreat ever.  Here is a foolproof checklist to help you (and make your boss/pastor/board/church love you) when planning your summer camp!

Do I Really Need a Map? (The Secret Destination of Learning)

Do your students and parent know what your teaching this week? How about next week?  How about next month?  Is your teaching a road trip with a secret destination?  Multi-year curriculum development in a way to create a map for the road of your teaching.  It is not as hard as it might sound.   Don't be on the road to nowhere any longer!

Breaking Down The "Why?" Question In Our Youth Ministries

Why don’t we start with asking why before we create another ineffective program? I used to think that if I told kids what we did (events, fun, concerts, etc.) and how we did it ( with energy, lots of give aways, food, big crowds) they would be sold, come to the event, and then stick around for a while. Had I stuck to that premise only, I would have left youth ministry a long time ago. The what and the how no longer excite me, but the why is still what has kept me going.

Surviving the Weekend Hangover

I thought I would go for a nice long run yesterday, but then I remembered it was like 100 degrees in Baltimore and my muscles were aching from a lack of sleep, long bus drive and an emotional draining experience.

When September hits there will be a lot of weekends that will be draining because of all the energy that gets expedited, especially when it comes to getting things started and keeping things going. So when there is a little more margin, like in the summer time it's important to plan for the year ahead.

Vision: Ending Up Somewhere on Purpose

As a personal exercise I have pulled out some God-given principles pertaining to fulfilling God’s God-given vision as a church and personally. These come from a study of Nehemiah, one of God’s great visionary leaders.

I learned them from various sources and teachers Bruce Wilkinson and Andy Stanley are two for sure. Thought I’d pass them on.

Back to Basics

There seems to be a big push lately to decentralize the local church. The modern technology landscape opens the world to itself. There are a myriad of resources for leaders and open forums to discuss strategies and methods. 

We have opened up our local church to online sermon notes, and even forgoing a local teaching pastor altogether. Some churches offer a streamed message from a speaker who nobody in the congregation will ever meet.

I believe the person leading the group should teach the group, whether that be a small Bible study, young adult ministry, youth ministry or even big church.

Give Them Some Time Off!

Jennifer Winn is an event planner for non-profit and cause-centric organizations. She's got some great advice that even youth pastors need to hear:

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