Summer. This word holds much meaning for people. So many words come to mind when the word “summer” is spoken around me: no more school, vacations, sleeping in, sno-cones, trips to the lake, fireflies, country music… you get the picture. But now as a youth director, there are a few words that stand out a little bit more than those: super summer, movie nights, ultimate Frisbee, pool parties, mission trip, student availability, discipleship, growth, fire-pits, goodbye’s, and new hello’s. The summer time for Fusion Youth Ministries is a very exciting and unique time within the year. As a ministry, our structure remains the same for the most part, but other dynamics shift around us. The students are no longer in school, making them generally more available for events, one on one meetings, small group time and general hang-outs. This is probably my favorite aspect of the summer; so much time to engage with the students. Another huge aspect of the summer is the large events we have, allowing our students to spend intentional time together in varied environments and situations, challenging them in new ways and allowing them to have new experiences that are not available the other nine months of the year. I am so excited to be able to share and cast some vision for what the summer holds for our Fusion Student Ministries.
Summer Kick-Off Party
June 5-6 @ The Greeve’s Place
This is one of our biggest “in-house” events that we lead. With the start of the summer comes a new season of youth ministry. This is perhaps different from other churches, where we welcome in any incoming 7th graders into Fusion at this time, while also still allowing our graduated seniors to participate in Fusion. The Summer Kick-Off Party is pretty much what it says: a huge party that is the kick-off to our summer. This event is one of my all-time favorite events, as it a weekend full of fun, music, energy, new students, old students, food and tons of games. Our goal as a Fusion Leadership Team (FuLe) is to welcome in students and pursue them with energy and intentionality throughout the whole weekend. This looks like us competing in biggest cannon-ball competition in the pool, boxing with the kids in the huge inflatable boxing ring, getting nailed in a game of dodgeball or sitting and having an intense card game with a group of students. Any way that we as leaders can meet students where they are at this summer is our goal. We know that by entering into the student’s world, engaging them in what they find to be fun and important is an easy way to build relationships that can be fostered into something deeper. It’s also a great opportunity for the students to invite their peers, try Fusion for the first time as incoming 7th graders or to celebrate graduation as a senior. This event is very “friend-friendly” and by that I mean we try to provide an environment where any student will feel welcomed and not pressured or awkward because either they aren’t a Christian or are maybe a new believer and don’t feel like they know anything, or perhaps maybe even a student who is really closed off to God and just wants to have a fun weekend with their friends. This is that event.
June 29-July 3
Every summer we have the awesome privilege to take a busload of students to a camp called Super Summer for a week. This summer we are attending Week Two: June 29-July 3rd. This 5-day camp experience is held at Webster Conference Center and run by the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists (KNCSB). We have been attending this summer camp for several years and it’s always one of the biggest highlights of my summer. This week can and has been life-changing for many of our Fusion students. The week is filled with large group worship through music and a speaker, large break –out sessions with other students and smaller group sessions with individual youth groups. We also have very large and intense games called BLAST games that encourage leaders and students to work together in their team throughout the whole week in different messy, high-energy games and competitions. The afternoons are filled with options for students that can include swimming in the lake or pool, gym-time, intense team building Challenge Course opportunities and High Ropes Course. It’s a great week for students and leaders to be saturated by life-giving sermons, music and intentional time together as a youth group.
Wednesdays 6:30-8:30pm @ FHCS
Throughout the summer, our Wednesday evenings do not change from the routine of the school year. We will still continue to meet every Wednesday from 6:30-8:30 at Flint Hills Christian School. Our typical Fusion Central time consists of games, mixers, a teaching, small group time, prayer and general hang-out time. The summer tends to ebb and flow with the size of our group due to family vacations, sports camps, Super Summer, Mission Trip, etc. but that does not stop us from having great weekly meetings together. Over the course of the summer, we will be covering one long teaching topic. The teaching series is God’s Not Dead: How to Stand Firm in Your Faith. This teaching series will cover topics such as how to stand up for your faith, equipping , how to share the gospel, finding your platform to share, etc. We as a FuLe Team are super excited about teaching the students and encouraging them in their faith, engaging them with prayer and the Word while equipping them for a life loving God and loving others well.
Another aspect of our summer ministries within fusion is discipleship. In Dennis McCallum’s book, Organic Disciplemaking , it states that “Nothing is better for spiritual growth than personal discipleship.” I truly believe that if we invest in our students one on one or even small group setting, we will see incredible growth within the lives of those being disciple. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” This was the verse that led me in to youth ministry at a young age, and continues to give me vision for our students. We as a FuLe Team long to make disciples within our Fusion students; students who desire to live out the Gospel in real and tangible ways, and then see those students turn and make disciples of their own. Matthew 28:19-20 gives us purpose and a call to make disciples. It says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you, and surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” There is not an age requirement to make disciples and I praise God for that.
Mission Trip: Chicago
Most summers, Fusion tries to take a group of students on a summer mission trip. Some of those past trips have been to Branson, Mobile, and Arlington. This summer we’ll be loading up the vans at the end of July and taking our students to South Chicago Heights, Illinois; a small community on the outer edge of Chicago. During the week, we will be partnering with Transformation Church as they engage their church and community with a VBS/Sports Camp during the morning with the children around the town and assisting in work projects in the afternoon. My prayer for this trip is that we will be used by God in whatever way He wants. We are so excited as a FuLe Team to take excited students to join the Transformation Church and see what God is already doing, praying He will use us to bless the families and kids we will be interacting with. While we are in Chicago, our goal is not to be the hero and make a huge impact and then just leave, but to build relationships with the church family and community that will continue to grow even after we leave that week. When I think back to trips I took in high school, I don’t first think of all the “great stuff we did to fix the church” but the people we met and the children we played with and loved on. I pray our students will be changed and moved to see God’s hand at work in another part of the country and to grow in love for others around them.
Summer is such a fun time for Fusion. What gets me most excited is the amount of time we get to spend together as a family of Fusion-ites. It’s so easy to view the summer as a time to be lax, not pursue any big goals or vision and to rest up for the next school year. I see the summer as the time when there is the most availability, willingness and passion in the students to spend time together; whether we are engaging in structured bible-study time, one on one discipleship, or playing a game of ultimate Frisbee and eating s’mores, it is an exciting season within our ministry. Please join us in praying for our summer events, for new students to put their faith in Christ, for those following Him to experience Christ in new and deeper ways and for the FuLe Team to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in how we can best engage and encourage our students through the different events we have going on. I am beyond excited to see how the Lord will move within Fusion this summer