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How to Use the Summer to Become THE WORST Ministry Leader

Keeping engagements and connections with folks over the summer will pay off as the fall approaches. So don’t neglect the easy touch points.



“Just the same ol’ same ol’”: a.k.a. However you do ministry September through May, keep doing that exact same thing June through August.

Solution: Be creative and have fun!

September through May is a long time, making it easy to get into daily, weekly, and monthly rhythms. And sometimes rhythms become habits. And sometimes habits are hard to break. If you are struggling to figure out a way to put some life into the ministry you’re leading, ditch the natural rhythms within the school year and try some new stuff over the summer! I’m a big fan of changing up the schedule in Student Ministry. Though Sunday mornings are still primetime for Kids Ministry, there are ways to engage with Kids over the summer that the school year doesn’t allow. Small Group ministry can take a break from weekly study time and enjoy more cookouts and outdoor activities. So gather your team, be creative, and have fun! You might discover something new to try during the next September through May cycle.



Don’t plan for anything: a.k.a. Christmas is six months away. Let’s wait until after ministries launch in the fall to start planning.

Solution: Be intentional and plan ahead!

Anybody know when this year’s new Christmas and Holiday music releases are being worked on? During the summer! Oh, it is so easy to put planning on the shelf. It is so easy to put off preparing for the launch of fall ministry until August. It is so easy to procrastinate. Lean in! Take an hour tomorrow and write down all the critical dates and events through May of next year. Then get some teammates together next week and spend an hour reverse-engineering a timetable for when things should be done to have the most significant impact on the ministry. Then follow through on everything. Be intentional and plan ahead!



Only look through the window: a.k.a. Man, it sure looks nice outside. I bet a 15-minute walk outside would be nice. I’ll just imagine what that’s like.

Solution: Enjoy the outdoors!

The window of my office looks into a hallway. So, I never know what it’s like outside unless I leave my office and walk around. I also don’t enjoy exercising, but that’s a different conversation. I do know that a walk outside on a beautiful day can help organize thoughts, provide emotional clarity, and engage the spirit. So get outside, especially those who live in colder winter places. Whether it’s a walk around the parking lot or a five-block square, enjoy the outdoors!



Just focus on you: a.k.a. Ignore all the potential new volunteers, recruiting, and building up existing volunteers.

Solution: Develop and invest in people!

Summer is recruiting season! Remember how it’s good to be outside? Grab a table at a coffee spot with outdoor seating and meet with someone different every hour: a potential new volunteer, an existing volunteer to keep building relationship, or an existing volunteer you want to challenge to take their next step in leadership. Go for a walk or hike with a volunteer. If they have kids, meet up with them at a park. But whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity that summer provides to develop and invest in people!



Be an idiot: a.k.a. Learn nothing. Grow in nothing. Assume it’s okay to be stagnant.

Solution: Read a book! Take a strength to the next level!

“Dwight, what’s the most inspiring thing I’ve ever said to you?” “Don’t be an idiot. Changed my life.” Take a next step in your leadership! What’s a new ministry skill you’ve wanted to learn? Find a book on that subject and dive in. What’s a ministry strength you want to take to the next level? Research articles from leading practitioners and thinkers in that area. What’s a theological topic that you want to understand more fully? Find a book from both sides and expand your brainpower. Never read through the Minor Prophets? Carve out an hour each week, sit at the same park bench each time, and engage the Scriptures. Just don’t be stagnant!



Be lazy: a.k.a. Meh, it’s summer. People are in and out. Church people are scattered. I’ll just coast.

Solution: Engage with people!

Family rhythms in the summertime vary drastically based on context and culture. However, one thing seems to be true no matter what: if the weather is nice, people attend church less. What I’m not promoting is hounding people and making them feel guilty when they miss a Sunday here and there. What I am strongly encouraging you to do is not neglect touching base with folks. When someone comes to mind, send them a quick email or text: “Hey, haven’t seen you in a while. You came to my mind, and I just wanted to say hi. Hope you’re having a great summer.” Keeping engagements and connections with folks over the summer will pay off as the fall approaches. So don’t neglect the easy touchpoints.  



I would love to partner with you and your team to do a deep dive into the leadership and personality dynamics present! Here at Chemistry Staffing, we want nothing more than for your church to be engaged in Gospel work in the healthiest way for your community. So let’s start with you and your key leaders! Let's chat!



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Caleb Smith

Caleb Smith

Along with being a Pastor's Kid, Caleb has been in vocational ministry for over 20 years. From family ministries to executive leadership, from church mergers to multi-site to church planting, Caleb brings the experience of multiplicative ministry in a variety of cultures and contexts. Caleb and his family live in Rochester, MN where he serves as Executive Pastor of Strategy & Culture at Autumn Ridge Church. He is also a certified coach and facilitator for both Auxano and Ministry Insights. Caleb's passion in ministry is helping people and local churches maximize their Gospel impact.

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