This guest post is from Kevin Patterson. Kevin is the Youth Pastor at FBC Dawson Springs, Kentucky. He blogs at Life in The Youth Ministry Fishbowl
What is the one thing I love about living in rural setting? The outdoor seasons! They never end! I roll from deer hunting season, to turkey hunting season, to fishing, and things like coyote hunting are year round. There is always something to do! Even if there is a rare time between seasons there is always something to do. Either getting new hunting gear, sighting in rifles, restringing fishing rods, or even deer stand maintenance. Busy busy busy.
But wait! Isn’t that why people move to the country? To NOT be busy? I’m a firm believer that even in a rural setting, we are no less busy than our urban and suburban counter parts. There’s just a different type of busy. Our ministry also goes through these seasons. Every youth ministry is different so don’t think my ministry setting will apply to yours but the principles are the same.
I have the oddest youth ministry schedule around. Most youth ministries step back during the summer and gear up during the school year. I’m the opposite. We step back during the end of fall, winter, and beginning of spring. Then in the warmer part of the year we kick it in to overdrive! You see I’ve identified common patterns in our ministry that led us to our ministry cycle. Two things led us to step back during the school year. The students in my ministry are hyper involved in school. During the fall you cannot plan any events because 85% of my students are in marching band and cannot attend weekend events. I’m also a college student so I’m usually in the middle of finals or midterms when it’s time for events in the fall and spring. During the summer though? I’m bringing it full force! We have missions trips, our summer weekend camp, our summer blast trip to the water park, and our midweek usually gets a shot in the arm. We have students that sometimes cannot come during the year because of team commitments etc. They are there during the summer so we plan our big series during this time.
Speaking of hunting. That is another reason we often don’t see students during the fall and spring. Deer season. When we have youth group on Weds night thats usually prime deer hunting time. Unlike our urban and suburban counterparts who have the natural speed of life that happens in those settings. Those of us in a rural setting have a slower pace of life but we are just as busy. Speaking of seasons, I’ve heard the bass are biting at my favorite lake, Loch Mary. So I’m going to put this down and grab my poles!