Ah, summer. The days are long, the evenings warm, and students are more free to spend fun, intentional time together. Don’t let summer fly by without building memories and teaching students to live out the Gospel! Here are five youth event ideas to keep teens engaged and focused on sharing Jesus’ love this summer.
5 Youth Event Ideas for a Summer of Eternal Impact
With each of these youth event ideas, the most important element is sharing the Gospel. The more you bring up the Gospel, the more familiar students become with it and the more opportunity their unsaved friends have to hear it! These fun activities are just tools for a greater purpose—to reach lost teens with Christ’s love and equip believing students to share it.
1. A "Gospelized" Car Wash
Summer is the perfect time for this service opportunity—a “Gospelized” car wash. This idea is featured in our 5 Outreach Ideas for Summer for Youth Ministry eBook where we asked real youth pastors for their top outreach event ideas.
A youth pastor named Josh Weatherspoon from Virginia gave us this idea, and he says,
“We did an outreach event called the ‘$1 Car Wash.’ As people pulled in to get their car washed, they’d try to give us money up front, to which we’d tell them that we’d get it all settled up after their car was clean.
“Once clean, we would then have them look their car over and we would give them $1 (or at least try to). This would lead into a somewhat natural transition based on this simple analogy about grace and God giving us what we didn’t deserve.”
To get ready, make a church-wide announcement about the car wash a few weeks beforehand so that people can start inviting their neighbors. You can also take up donations of buckets, sponges, towels, soap, and other supplies for the day of. For more tips about running this Gospelized car wash, check out this blog post!
2. Water Fight Night
Who doesn’t love a good water fight on a hot day? This summertime favorite is a great chance for students to invite friends to come have a blast and hear the Gospel.
This event will take some planning upfront, so here are some tips to prepare:
- Announce the water fight plans a few weeks in advance so students have time to invite their friends.
- Give instructions on what to bring:
- Appropriate clothing that can get wet (suggest swim trunks and t-shirts for the guys, a bathing suit underneath shorts and a t-shirt for the girls)
- A water gun if they have one
- Find a place on your church property, or in someone’s backyard, where there’s plenty of space to run around and access to a hose. Make sure it’s an area where the owner doesn’t mind having a slightly muddy mess to deal with afterwards!
- If you want to incorporate games, get supplies like water balloons, pool noodles, extra water guns, etc.
3. A bonfire and s'mores
Roasting marshmallows around a bonfire with friends in the summer is what good memories are made of. This is a great event for students to invite unsaved friends to because it’s a welcoming setting where good conversations about God can happen, especially while leaders are around to help answer questions.
Share the Gospel at some point during this event by giving a short message while everyone is gathered around the fire. Also make sure to provide enough s’mores supplies and maybe bring some yard games for another avenue of fun.
4. Take students to invite neighbors to your church events
Don’t let your students stay siloed in the youth room this summer, uninvolved in the other events going on with your church! Instead, give them an opportunity to reach your community by taking them to invite neighbors to your summer events.
If your church is hosting a VBS, 4th of July celebration, etc., get a bunch of flyers and take students into the surrounding neighborhood. Break up your group into smaller teams and assign them a few streets to canvass. The goal is for them to knock on doors, give a friendly invitation to your church’s event, and ask for prayer requests to hopefully spark a Gospel conversation.
Here’s an easy script students can use as they engage with your neighbors:
“Hey there, my name is ______ and my friends and I are from _______ Church just down the street. We wanted to come out and meet our neighbors and invite you to come to our event. We’re going to have ______ and we’d love for you to come have some food and a fun time with your family (or give others details of the event). Is there anything we can pray about for you today?”
Here are some other tips for sending students out:
- Give guidelines for engaging strangers:
- Be respectful and friendly even if a homeowner is not.
- Only knock or ring the doorbell once. If there’s no answer, leave the flyer on the door and move to the next house.
- You can pair your event flyers with a small gift like a bag of microwave popcorn, candy, etc.
- Send at least one leader with every group of students—a 5 to 1 ratio works well.
- Give a time limit and tell groups to meet back at the church at a certain time.
5. Lead THE Cause evangelism training seminar
The main goal of youth ministry is to help teens personally know Jesus’ love and equip them to share it with their friends. Teens need to know what they believe, why they believe it, and how to explain it before they graduate. That’s why a Gospel-training event like Lead THE Cause is so important!
Lead THE Cause is an incredibly effective evangelism training seminar that teaches teenagers a simple but comprehensive Gospel message. Then, it gives them the tools to relationally share it with others. If you want to see your students grow in their faith and their ability to share it with others, then make Lead THE Cause a part of your summer plans.
Your group can join the training event in person in Denver, CO from July 17-22, or you join a live, virtual version of the event from July 26-30. Find more details and updates about these upcoming events by joining the Lead THE Cause Insider List!
A Fun, Faith-Building Summer
We hope these youth event ideas will help you plan a summer that’s fun AND spiritually significant for your teens!
What other youth group events do you like to plan for your church in the summer? Share your best ideas with our community of youth leaders on Facebook!