Summer is a highly rewarding time for NextGen Ministry leaders. With various responsibilities like summer camps, missions trips, student leadership, and Vacation Bible School (VBS), the season is both fulfilling and demanding. These leaders often spend extended periods away from their families, tirelessly working to impact the lives of young people. For many of these leaders it means that they are away for 2-4 weeks of the summer. They often are at a week of middle school camp, then high school camp, then VBS, and throw in a mission trip and the summer is FULL!
Having been a Youth Pastor leading these trips, I understand the excitement and the challenges involved. During that time, my own young family was at home while I was at camps or missions, experiencing God moving in a powerful way and lives being transformed. When the trip was over it was vital for me to reconnect with my family once the trip was over, recharge my energy, and prepare myself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally before heading out on the next major trip.
To make the summer exciting for our families, many of us plan special trips they can eagerly anticipate. When we were Youth Pastors, my wife would tell the kids that I would be away for a week, but when I returned, we would be going on a beach vacation together. This gave the kids, and her, something exciting to look forward to.
However, finances can often pose an obstacle. Ministry leaders, particularly NextGen leaders, choose their path driven by passion and calling rather than financial gain. Consequently, they may have limited access to extra funds or resources, making it challenging for them to engage in activities that help them recharge and reconnect with their families. As a community, we can step in and provide support to these leaders. By incorporating such plans, we can create a sense of excitement and provide NextGen leaders' families with something special to look forward to. Turning summer into an anticipated season, not a countdown to its end.
There are many way to get involved and help support these leaders. Here are a few ideas, but I want to encourage you to be creative and pray about what the Lord might lead you to do.
By contributing funds, we can alleviate some of the financial burdens they face during the summer. This might include providing extra reward points or gift cards that allow them to enjoy quality time with their families or take a much-needed vacation.
Recognizing that NextGen leaders' time and energy are often stretched thin, we can assist with neglected tasks due to their demanding schedules and being away for extended time. This could be organizing volunteer teams to mow lawns, clean houses, or handle home repairs. This can provide much-needed relief.
Thoughtful thank-you notes expressing our gratitude go a long way in encouraging and supporting these leaders. These gestures remind them that their efforts are seen and valued by the community they serve. Additionally, care packages filled with items promoting self-care and relaxation, such as spa gift certificates, books, candles, or a GYM membership demonstrate our desire to support their overall well-being.
Resources and opportunities
Offering access to vacation properties like timeshares or rental homes allows them to enjoy well-deserved getaways with their families. Similarly, if we have travel benefits such as extra flight miles, hotel points, or rental vehicles, extending the invitation for their use can alleviate financial constraints.
Don’t forget the family at home
Supporting NextGen leaders during their trips is crucial, but we can also extend support to the families during the trips. Spouses and children often experience a sense of absence and longing when their loved ones are away. As a community, we can step in by offering to babysit, organizing outings, or planning special activities that alleviate this feeling of separation.
Ultimately, our goal is to create an atmosphere of support and care for NextGen leaders who invest so much of themselves into the lives of young people. By recognizing the challenges they face during the summer and proactively offering assistance, we help them find balance, strengthen family bonds, and return to their ministry roles with renewed energy and passion.
Here are some ideas of ways that we can help NextGen leaders renew after a long and fruitful summer.
- Buy them a round of golf
- Pay for their house to be cleaned
- Offer to babysit for them so they can have an overnight getaway
- Gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure
- Do you have extra hotel points? Timeshare days? Flight miles? Offer of them to use them
- Do you have a boat? Jet skies? 4 wheeler? Offer them to go with you, or to borrow them.
- Mow their lawn
- Write them thank you notes.
- Help them with home maintenance tasks.
- Gift them a membership to a fitness center
- Offer to help with administrative tasks or paperwork to lighten their load.
- Purchase tickets to a concert or sporting event they may enjoy.
- Create a care package filled with their favorite snacks, books, or self-care items.
- Send flowers or cookies during the trip to the spouse and or kids thanking them for their work at home
- Inviting them over of a meal and asking them to share about the trip with you and your family