By the time you read this, my wife should be close to done giving birth to our forth child. So, in honor of this momentous occasion, our game of the week is the “Baby Bottle Chug.”
3 (or more) baby bottles
Liquid to drink
The game is simple. It makes a great up front game. Buy three or more baby bottles, fill them with liquid like pop or water, and set them on the stage. As the up front game, simply pick three volunteers and have them sit in front of the bottles. At a signal, they race to see who can drain the baby bottle first.
Be sure to poke a hole in the nipple (yes, I did say nipple in a youth ministry blog!) I found out the hard way not all come pre-poked. Or, if you want to mess with someone, have one without a hole. Then when they go to drink it, the one without the hole starts to freak out. Simple and fun game! Let me know in the comments how it goes!
The last test has been taken. The final bell has rung. The last bus has finished its route. Summer is here! Hopefully you have all your major summer stuff planned – camp, mission trip, activities, etc. If not, close out the browser and get to work! Otherwise, we’re going to examine how the summer is different than the rest of the year.
Ministry seems to have a natural rhythm to it, a flow that you get into. During the school year, its mostly the same. You have a few blips with major holidays like Christmas and Easter, but for the most part its pretty much the same from week to week. Maybe Tuesdays you go to the school for lunch. On Thursdays you meet with your local YM network. Wednesday morning you help out the local Christian club at the middle school. You can pretty much identify where you’re going to be each week and what what you’re going to be doing.
Summer is different. During the summer, no two weeks are the same. Maybe you cancel youth group for the summer, or at least do it differently. You might be gone for camp one or two week. You might be getting ready and going on that mission trip. Your students go on vacation at different times through the summer. Your leaders go on vacation. Your students that are around probably sleep til noon, or have jobs that they’re busy with. They have band camp or cheer camp or football camp. And you are left with a schedule that’s in an uproar. How to find a flow to the summer when there is none? Here are some tips -
Summer tends to be a more relaxed time for everyone, except for YMs. I know few youth ministers that take vacations in the summer, while everyone else around them is going on these nice trips. That doesn’t mean we can’t relax. That doesn’t mean don’t work, but it does mean to join others in their relaxation. That means we need to…
2. Be more relational
Summer is a boring time for teens, even for the most busy. They are used to having a 40 hour school schedule plus homework, so suddenly they have that massive hole there. Use this opportunity to spend time with the teens. Just grab a few and get some ice cream, or go miniature golfing, invite some over for a BBQ, or whatever. To do that, though, you probably should…
3.Do office work in the morning
You’re going to have administrative tasks. Get them out of the way before noon. Chances are a lot of the administrative tasks are not as pressing during the summer so you can spread them out over several days. Just don’t waste early afternoons and evenings when your students will be awake and available doing admin you could have got out of the way.
4. Plan for the “Big Weeks”
I love camp and missions trips, but they are big rhythm killers! They take you out for a week, usually require a day or two to get ready for (I’m talking packing, not planning!) and then a day or two to recover from. You know those are coming, so work ahead to make sure that they aren’t killer. Also don’t be afraid to take a day or two off afterwards to recover (with appropriate permissions of course).
5. Dream for the future
Summer is a great time to just dream big dreams for the future. You have a little more time available (unless you overscheduled yourself!) and so take a few hours each week to just get away and focus on the future.
6. Find rhythm elsewhere
No matter what you do, the summer is not going to flow naturally. So to keep your sanity, try to find rhythm elsewhere. Maybe go for a walk each morning, or plan a special family trip each week. Just something that you can rely on each day or week to be there.
What do you do during the summer to help establish a flow or rhythm?
In the past two years, I read books. Lots and lots of books. An insane number of books! I miss reading just for the joy of reading. Even now, I’ll be reading a fiction book for fun and be planning out a book report for it. Thankfully, much of what I read was extremely valuable. Many of them I would not have even known about unless I had been “forced” to read them for class. So I present with you the 8 best books I read during seminary. I highly recommend you find some time to check these books out. They will be work it.
Community That is Christian
Post Modern Children’s Ministry
Sticky Faith: Youth Workers Edition
Church + Home
The Emotionally Healthy Church
Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership
Systematic Theology: A Systematic Study of the Christian Life
The Next Christendom
If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear what you thought of them in the comments!
This weekend, I will graduate with my masters degree from Cincinnati Bible Seminary. It has long been a dream to get my masters, and I finished it exactly 10 years after getting my Bachelors. As I prepare to get hooded, I just wanted to share some things I learned over the past 2 years…
Church history is a complicated mess
Family ministry will be the next wave of church revolution
The “meat” of what I learned was from the books I read
Its great to be challenged by people with lots of different ideas and perspectives
I learned a lot more than I knew being “in the trenches” of ministry
Bible classes challenged me to look past the surface issues of the text
My spiritual life is much more important to my leadership than I ever imagined
Grace is a powerful spiritual force that the church does not exhibit enough of
The Church has survived tougher spots than 21st century America
This is just a sampling of what I learned. There is part of me that wishes I could have taken many more classes. But that sane part of me is slapping that part and celebrating all that I’ve achieved. Regardless, I’ve learned a lot. If you’ve been to Bible college/seminary, what is something you learned?