Summer Fun Bible Tips
By Barry Shafer Posted on May 04 2010
Summer certainly knocks you out of a rhythmic school-year routine, but that doesn’t mean you have to take a break from all things youth ministry. In fact, a different routine can help you approach components of your ministry from a completely different, more creative angle. Like Bible study, for instance. Or more accurately, especially Bible study, for instance.
Leverage summer’s unique offerings—warm weather, special dates, missions opportunities—to give your students a fresh look at God’s Word. Ideas and options are endless, but maybe these few can spark your creativity. The ideas below aren’t intended to be complete lesson plans, but simply jump-starts to get you on your way.
On-Site Bible Study
With warm weather abounding, take your Bible study on the road and outdoors. These ideas will bring lasting sensory experiences to two of Jesus’ most famous analogies.
Living Water and a Body of WaterTake your group to a local river, lake, or if you’re so lucky, ocean, and explore Jesus’ teaching on living water in John 7:37-39. You’ll want to check out a few other water Scriptures as well, such as Isaiah 43:18-21; Isaiah 44:1-4; Ezekiel 47:1-12 (these are passages Jesus may have been referring to in John 7:38). An application question to discuss: Which of the following best describes the state of your “living water:” A stagnant pond? A damned up creek? A fresh, rushing stream? (And if your closest local body of water is a city treatment plant, even better!)
“Dying Like a Seed” and a CornfieldOr a wheat field. Or a bean field. Or any kind of field where seeds have been planted and are now growing. Google up some info about how a seed morphs into a plant and share that info with your students, being sure to emphasize how a seed must give up its “seedness” in order to become what it is intended to become.
Here are some passages you can explore with your students: John 12:23-26; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 9:23-26; Philippians 2:4-13.
You can always count on the calendar to provide some creative outlets.
June 21 For the earth’s northern hemisphere, June 21 is the longest day of the year. The position of the heavenly bodies and the tilt of the earth make this possible. Use this cosmic arrangement as a springboard to study God’s handiwork in the heavenlies. Take advantage of the day’s length (in 2010 it’s on a Monday, by the way) and schedule a time late in the evening to get together (maybe even past sunset so you can catch a few evening stars).
Experience together Psalm 104, a psalm that speaks of all the wonderful things our cosmos has to offer, things that remind us of God’s nearness. The Apostle Paul also shared some interesting information about the splendor of the cosmos in 1 Corinthians 15:39-42.
July 4 The biggest holiday of the summer is obviously the Fourth of July. Freedom is always a good subject to touch on during this holiday (drawing on the good parallels of freedom from tyranny, oppression, etc.), but consider a subject that’s a little more off the beaten path: a believer’s role in the culture of government and politics. Esther and Daniel (most likely teens themselves) provide poignant character studies showing how God’s people can engage a secular culture. Challenge your students to imitate the characteristics and actions of Esther and Daniel and encourage them to engage with their personal political landscape. This could be as simple as meeting their most local elected official (a city council member, the mayor, etc.) or working for a political campaign.
Try this with Daniel: Prep a study experience based on the first two chapters of Daniel. In those two simple chapters we’re vividly shown the spiritual character and personal attributes needed to stand up to powerful cultural /political forces.
Try this with Esther: The famous line “for such a time as this” occurs in Esther 4. Explore with your students how Esther preps for her moment with the king in Esther 4:15-17. Then take in the suspenseful scenes in Esther 5-8. Esther’s prep paid off; we could all take a cue.
Sustain Missions Trip Enthusiasm
Mission trips are summer experiences that should not end with the parent pick-up from the church parking lot. These experiences embody John 14:21—“having” and “obeying” Jesus’ commands to the point where Jesus “shows” Himself to us. This is what always leaves us wanting more when missions experiences conclude, despite cold (if any) showers and limited cell coverage. So, leverage the renewed enthusiasm and commitments of your missions trip returnees to develop some holy habits that will stick with your students for life, launching them into a life-long cycle of “having” and “obeying” Jesus’ commands.
Explore with your students the passages that exhort believers to look out for other people (Matthew 10:42; Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27; 2:15-17). Brainstorm with your students on situations you have in your community or church that are directly addressed in these passages.
Bible Theme Ideas
Use the summer as an opportunity for students to become familiar with a small segment of Scripture.
Own a chapter
Challenge students to live and breathe loaded chapters like John 1, Romans 12, or Ephesians 4. Make one chapter the subject of your entire summer Bible study. Encourage students to memorize select verses or the entire chapter!
Own a book
Spend your summer Bible study immersed in one book of the Bible. Own a one-chapter book like Philemon or Jude. Mastering a book will give students a huge sense of accomplishment, and it will give God a huge window to pour illumination into their lives.
No matter what idea you grab, make the summer of 2010 a time that your students will look back on years from now and notice a huge growth spurt in their relationship with Jesus and their appreciation for God’s Word.