Here is an easy summer kick-off lesson to use for your youth ministry...or modified for any age group! I found this lesson as as a freebie on Simply Youth Ministry about 6 years ago that we've modified and used several times! Hope this helps someone!
I use a beach bag and pack the following items in it:
a beach towel
bottle of water
Here's the Leader's Notes on it:
School may not end until tomorrow, but I know where your thoughts are. They’re not in that classroom, but on SUMMER. So today I wanna talk about some essential things you need for an unforgettable summer:
(Pull out one item at a time from bag. )
"Why would you need this, this summer?"
"What could it symbolize spiritually?"
(say after you remove each item)
Make sure to include tangible things that your ministry/church/group are doing for each area that they can get involved in..like serving at a soup kitchen or going to camp to build relationships, etc....
Watch – Watch your time -
14whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14
Summer seems to give us an illusion of lots of free time. We can veg out or sleep the days away and before we know it our life is over and what do we have to show for it:
I’m 7 shades darker than I was in May.
I played video games all summer
Remember your time on earth is limited, so don’t waste any of your time this summer.
Sun Screen – Protect yourself –
11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:11-13
There’s a war going on and some of you don’t even know it. I’m not talking about the Gulf War or in some strange country, but the battle going on for your heart and soul. It’s called spiritual warfare, and if you’re not protected and fighting, then you’re probably already a casualty. Protect your heart this summer from the ways that Satan wants to make you fall.
Towel – Jesus Served we should serve
John 13:1-5 & 12-17
1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.[a]
2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Serve somebody it does not matter who or when but just serve- you’ll have lots of opportunities, I promise.
You are never closer to being like Jesus then when you serve.
Flip Flops – Walk as Jesus Walked
3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God's love[b] is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6
Not actually walking as Jesus walked, not like He had a limp or something, but walking and living like Jesus lived
Phone – Connect with people and God
11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
When you talk to people this summer, remember to let your words be encouraging, to build them up; not to tear them down.
35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
If Jesus needed to stay connected to God in His life on earth, I think that’s a sign that we need to stay connected with God too. Our cell phone has about 1000 minutes, we don’t use them all, but we use a lot. Anybody know how many minutes they’ve used this month/week? Think about how much time we spend on our phones…how much time do we spend with God?
Water-Walk out on faith
22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance[a] from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
29"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matt 14:22-31
Walk out on faith this summer: Even when it doesn’t make sense, or the situation seems too big: Follow God hard this summer. He is a God of grand adventures. He’s not limited in this building, He’s out there asking you to follow Him to do great crazy things. Walk on some water this summer: follow God to do have an amazing adventure.
<span style="font-weight:bold;">Bread-for survival
4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Get in God’s word this summer. You have no excuse not to. See what He has to say to you today and what He’s done in the past. Start in the book called John if you need a place to start. But just start!
(Challenge them to choose one or two areas that they are going to improve or focus on this summer and pray)