Ahhh…Summer! The sweet, lazy, dog days of summer are just around the corner. Why do we call them “dog days”? Is it because dogs (and teenagers) tend to lie around in the summer heat doing as little as possible?
As a youth leader, it’s all too easy to inadvertently fall into a pattern of slacking off and slowing down your Gospel Advancing Ministry efforts during the summer months. Maybe you’ve experienced this in the past. Even if you have a summer camp, mission trip or Lead THE Cause planned, once the big push for the big event is past, it’s tempting to let the rest of the summer slide into a cycle of weekly youth group fun and games.
Lazy Dogs Vs. Bright and Shining Stars
Well, surprise, surprise! The “dog days of summer” aren’t what they seem. It’s a common misconception that the saying is based on lazy dogs lying around doing nothing. But the real origin of the saying is actually as a reference to the brightest star in the summer night sky—the Dog Star (AKA Sirius).
So here’s a radical thought! This summer, try turning the dog days of summer on their head.Use the summer months to pray for and connect with your neighbors who don’t know Jesus. Click To Tweet
Move your teenagers off the couch and out of the “fun-and-games-only” mode, and instead consciously plan a summer that helps them shine like the brightest star in the summer sky. Help your teenagers live out the challenge in Philippians 2:15 to “shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life”!
And of course, you don’t have to throw out all the summer fun and games—just be sure to gospelize them!
Try This! ❯
Choose one activity from this list of “8 Great Summer Outreach Ideas” and get it on your youth group calendar ASAP.
8 Great Summer Outreach Ideas
Here are eight simple Gospel Advancing Youth Ministry ideas to help you keep gospel advancement front and center during the summer months. Pick a few that work for you and turn the “dog days of summer” into the “doggedly-determined days of summer”—as in doggedly-determined to prioritize evangelism and get your students consistently reaching out to those who are lost, hurting or just plain bored.
- Organize a student outing to a local park(s) and challenge each of your Christian teenagers to initiate at least one faith-sharing conversation with a stranger. For help with this, have your students download the Life in 6 Words app.
- Designate an “Ice Cream Outreach Month” where you challenge every Christian in your group to treat one unreached friend to ice cream one-on-one, with the expressed purposed of using the time to initiate a faith-sharing conversation. Then close out your month with a youth group ice cream social that students can invite their friends to—and give the gospel.
- Plan a trip to the amusement park or swimming pool and challenge every student to initiate at least one faith-sharing conversation with a stranger.
- Plan a community service project. This could be anything from a canned food drive to hosting a free car wash—no strings attached. Share the gospel with everyone you interact with (out loud, with words).
- Plan an outreach movie night. For help with this, click here.
- Recruit your teenagers to volunteer at your church’s VBS and challenge them to specifically connect with any kids who aren’t from your church so they can share the gospel with them.
- Model an evangelistic lifestyle yourself by using the summer months to pray for and connect with your neighbors who don’t know Jesus. Invite neighbors over for a BBQ or dessert night. Challenge your adult leaders to do the same. Then come to youth group and share stories about your own faith-sharing efforts.
- Lay the groundwork this summer with next year’s student leadership team by discipling them weekly during these summer months and casting a vision for their role so together you can hit the ground running in the Fall for an active, growing Gospel Advancing Youth Ministry.
Capitalized on the extra time and freedom your students typically have this time of year. Advance the gospel all summer long and truly make these months the dog days of summer—in the original sense of the phrase!