40 Days of Summer

13th Jul 2017

What 'one thing' will you do this summer...?

Summer holidays. Most of us can’t wait for those precious six weeks of down time.

Over the years there has been much debate about whether youth and children’s groups should continue during the school holidays or not. Whatever you believe about this subject, there’s one thing we can all agree on – it is not great for the young people in your group to go the whole six weeks without getting together.

Young people require as much support over the summer as they do at any point in the year. Given that often young people make significant steps of faith over the summer holidays – at Christian camps, festivals, holidays and mission experiences – it is vital that leaders can follow-up with them during the extended summer break. Faith experiences can quickly fade if not built upon and we owe it to those in our groups to help them further explore and sustain that spiritual progress.

Urban Saints believe in the power of high-quality weekly Christian youth and children’s groups and we believe that they are the best context for discipleship to flourish. However, we also acknowledge that leaders – especially volunteer ones – need time to recharge and be refreshed. No one leader is required to sacrifice their entire summer to maintain the continuity of relationships across the entire school holidays. Great discipleship does not happen when leaders are stretched to their limits and so it is vital that everyone gets to enjoy a break of their own. Young people also need to see that rest is as much of a spiritual priority as progress.

It is really important to get a healthy balance in this area. We love groups that are intentional about their spiritual “work, rest and play”. This summer we challenge you to consider what one thing you can do to maintain the discipleship journey of your young people over the summer holidays. Perhaps you can do one thing a week? Perhaps not? But commit to do just one thing that encourages deepening of relationships, creates space for conversation and keeps faith thriving across their six week break.

To help with this, we have come up with some simple (and not-so-simple) ideas to help you do just that - 40 different ideas for something to do with your group this summer - one for every day of the holidays – complete with a difficulty rating to help you understand how much might be involved.

There are ideas for one-off events that can help make the summer break memorable as well as more impromptu gatherings with a variety of ways to pass the time. There are activities that intentionally stimulate conversation and interaction and there are ideas for channelling creativity and self-expression during the long break. Finally, there are some ideas for things that your group can engage in together even when they are not actually together in person. There’s nothing too radical on the list but use it as a reminder that there are so many different things you could consider that it is almost impossible not to be able to manage one before the Autumn term begins again...

Over to you... (and if you think you can add to our 40, please let us know – we’d love to add to the list and pass on some more great ideas!)

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Disclaimer: This is supposed to be a light-hearted list, not a resource to be followed to the letter. We acknowledge up front that not all of the activities will work or even be appropriate for every group. There are so many factors that you will need to consider including the age, size, gender mix and circumstances of your group (to name but a few). If you find an activity that really doesn’t work for you, then why not use it as a source of inspiration and adapt it for purpose? Or just to come up with a much better alternative. We don’t mind how you use these ideas – as long as you do “just one thing” with your group to help them keep the faith...

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