As I am writing this blog, it is 111 degrees here in Texas! Even the swimming pools are too hot to enjoy! There is no doubt summer is in full swing. That means school is out- no homework, no academic planners, no sporting events, no early morning alarms, no tests—all things that fill up students’ schedules. Instead, they have TIME. And as a small group leader, summer is one of the greatest opportunities you’ll have to use that time and learn about what’s hot in your students’ lives.
Not sure what happens for your ministry over the summer, but we give our leaders a break from regular activities. This gives them opportunity to breath, be refreshed, and dream about another year of ministry with their students. Even though we encourage a break, we do ask for leaders to relationally connect with their students throughout the summer. It’s amazing how much time students have that they don’t during the school year, so why not capitalize on those moments?
And the best way to tap into that extra time with your students is by immersing yourself in their world for a while—learning and paying attention to what they like, what they are interested in.
- Call. This generation spends more time with their phone than any previous generation. If you want to get in touch, it’s pretty much guaranteed they will have their phone on them—most likely glued to their hand.
- Text. More and more teens are texting instead of engaging in the old dial and ring method of phone conversations. Send a quick text and you’d be surprised how quickly they open up over MMS.
- Show Facebook love. If they post something you like—click on the like button! If not Facebook, follow them on Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr. Social media is key to keeping up with your students.
- Food. Take them out to eat. Students love to eat. That’s a trend that will never go out of style.
- Invite them to your house. This is letting them into your world. Let them meet your family (if you dare!). Students love being a part of an inner circle—being accepted into a group on an intimate level. Opening your home does just that.
- Serve together. i.e. mow someone’s lawn, feed the homeless, paint a house, pick up trash. Research local volunteer opportunities. This generation is more and more concerned with changing the world and getting involved in something big. Encourage this passion together!
- Play together. Basketball, football, shopping, dance, Starbucks, the movies… find out what interests your students have and experience them together.
When school is in full swing, their time will be eaten up with other priorities. It’s just a reality. Why not use the summer months to tap into a great commodity to strengthen your relationship bridge with students?
What other things are “hot” with your students?