Over the summer I normally try to post a couple things that I learned over the previous school year. If you want see the series as it has developed over lots of years then click here.
In our camp training we always say that camp is a two week commitment. You spend a week at camp, then you spend at least a week of focused follow-up before getting back to your normal pace of ongoing friendship and leadership. I’ve even seen some of our clubs meet for 30 days in a row after camp. Those clubs have been some of our strongest and biggest year after year… I’m certain there is a connection.
In our area we have all-area summer campaigners after camp for at least four weeks. We also encourage kids to go to church with their leaders.
By the way, I have pastors and youth pastors ask me all the time how either 1) we get kids into church, or how 2) they can get kids into church. I have a very simple answer that I fully believe is the best method. I tell them that YL students will go to church where their YL leader goes to church. The more their YL leader is growing, being fed, pointed to Christ, and encouraged by the pastors (hopefully the pastors know the YL leaders names), the more YL leaders will be attracted to their church and their club kids will eventually come too. Churches where pastors know the YL leaders in their church by name tend to already have a lot of things in place that will be easy to plug YL students into church.
Back to hotdogs and church… At our first all area summer campaigners I told everyone that if they don’t have a church they go to regularly that we would all be going to a specific church on Sunday at 10AM and that I would buy everyone lunch afterward. I had already talked to the pastor to make sure he was open to the idea and that the sermon wasn’t a member focused topic (tithing, membership, etc.).
If you guessed that we went to a church where the pastor knows YL leaders by name then you guessed correctly.
I emphasized to the students that we would all be together, sit together, and be together afterward. This is important since I’ve found most young people who don’t go to church don’t have anyone at church who would miss them if they didn’t come. YL people love being together, to get people plugged into church we must leverage this and go together.
This year we had a very large turnout at church. The pastor even welcomed “all the Young Life people” at the beginning of his sermon. This was met with a big “woohoo!” from our section. We also had so many people come this year that we went for the cheapest lunch I could find, the $1.50 hotdog and soda at Costco. I also told them, “the samples are on me too!”
Looking for summer camp follow-up/campaigners resources? Look here.
Looking for a way to get contact work started in the Fall? Look here.