Leaves are changing colors and begging to be raked, you’re using soon-to-expire gift cards from last Christmas on pumpkin spice lattes, campus cafeteria visits are humming along, bonfires are now a viable program option: it’s finally fall! While it’s tempting to say a great big, “I’m Done” after a full summer, use this slower time wisely to keep next summer from becoming an ongoing emergency. Specifically this month is the perfect time to plan summer missions.
Use this time to scout out opportunities, pray about theme and guiding scriptures and stories, sketch out a loose guideline for missions prep content, begin to compile a list of your dream team of adult volunteers.
This year’s graduating seniors are already feeling pressure for next summer’s plans. Juniors are looking towards internships and summer jobs. Sophomores are deciding when they can squeeze in driver’s ed. Freshmen are figuring out who their people are and are making plans accordingly. Parents of middle schoolers already have a mental outline of which weeks their kids will be at summer camp. Make it easy to sign up for summer missions now by releasing registrations with date, cost, location, and missions prep requirements. You don’t have to know every detail, but if you can get these basics out, you will ensure those who want to go can make it happen.
A wonderful thing about having logistical information ready for next summer’s mission trips is that you are freed to pursue one-on-one invitations with students. Over and over again a personal invitation and conversation is the difference between the students who talk about coming, and who is actually seated in the church van next summer.
And now for a benediction: May youth ministers far and wide raise their salted caramel lattes in salute and solidarity, as we pray through and plan next summer with intentionality, together.