SMS: $5 and 50-Minute Ideas For Summer

Sun is out (well, at least I assume the sun is shining somewhere outside the Pacific Northwest) and summer has unofficially begun. Youth Leaders and students everywhere are wondering what to do. Today’s Student Ministry Stuff (SMS) is a simple list of affordable  and time-sensitive ideas for those of you involved in Student Ministry.

Camps, missions, retreats, festivals and many other events are VERY expensive and time consuming. Sure, many times these spendy get-aways produce some great growth and fruit, but I am also a firm believer in affordable fruit as well! The reality is relationships are the key factor.  Students, staff, leaders and parents will get what you’re giving in the context of relationship, regardless of the setting and length of time.

Here are some five $5 and mostly 50-minute ideas you can use to build into these relationships…

  • $5 Feet… Subway (and other sub shops) customizes and allows for each side of the sandwich to have it’s own toppings. Grab that footlong and walk along a footpath… Walk, talk and chow.
  • Balloon Blessings… Raid the Sunday School supply room for some construction paper, get a student or two, head to a Party City type store and get three $1 helium balloons and three candy bars to tie to the end and bless three leaders (or other students) with notes of encouragement and the delivered balloon and candy treat. Surprise them with an anonymous blessing by doing so when you know the recipient is not home.
  • Late Night Appetizers and Answers… Many “trendy” restaurants offer half-price appetizers during their happy hours (often late afternoon and then after 9 p.m.). Instead of doing the “fast food” thing, shoot an email to a couple students asking them to join you at an Applebees (or something similar) for “Appetizers and Answers.”  Tell them they need to come with three questions each about you, God or the Christian life.  For less than $5 total you can share some Nachos and engage in a wonderful faith-discussion!
  • Major in the Minors (this is one exception to the 50 minute suggestion)… This one may cost $5 each instead of $5 total, but chances are you live within an hour or two of a minor league baseball stadium. For a fraction of the cost of the big-leagues you can have a wonderful evening with students and have 9-innnings of big-time discussion. These ball players are young and excited about their hopes and dreams of making it to the next level. An easy discussion question for a minor-league game would be about hopes and dreams and how God is preparing the student, staff member or parent for “what’s next.”
  • iBlessing and Student Ownership… Get five students together for an hour and give them the assignment to pick any $.99 song on iTunes.  Give them 10 minutes to pick their song and then the next 40 minutes to write a Bible-study built around the theme of that song.  Take the next 5 weeks for a summer Bible-study or Sunday school class for these students to lead the discussion about the song, the devotional and the practical applications flowing out of the Bible study on these themes.
Hope these ideas plant some seeds for some ideas you can use this summer within your sphere of influence.  These ideas and many others are part of book project for Youthmark. Sometimes we need to be reminded that keeping it simple is sometimes the best option!  I hope your simple and complex plans all lead to deeper relationships in your circles and the end result is God glorified and the Kingdom multiplied!  Mission51!

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