Communicating with scores of ministry assistants throughout the country, I’ve learned many churches are using the exceptional evangelism and fellowship opportunities of the season to full advantage. Said one, “God’s work through our church does not take a sabbatical when it gets hot out.”
Some of their summertime activities:
- Mega yard sale. All church members contribute; the community is invited; church music provided; free lemonade; brochures about church activities distributed; members mingle.
- Day trips for parents and kids. Church bus used to take group to art museum, zoo, and other local attractions. On the ride: skits and sing-alongs.
- A huge sprinkler party on church grounds each Saturday. Teens hand out flyers throughout the close neighborhoods—along with free snow cones—on the Wednesdays before.
- Dads and kids cook out and camp out at a local park. Extra “Dads” are provided for kids whose parent is not available. Our church member Dads circulate and make sure everyone feels connected.
- Outdoor tournaments. Softball, volleyball, horse-shoes, basketball, bocce—all can be organized as tournaments. Members serve as coaches, making sure everyone gets an opportunity to compete.
- Jump rope Kids are organized to distribute flyers in close-by neighborhoods. “We use the local paper, our dynamic website, and the flyers to invite kids to come jump rope in our Fellowship Hall. We do our jumping to Christian music, have fun contests and learn new jump rope tricks. Refreshments, of course! and a calendar for more jump rope days.”
- Outdoor family movie night. A big exterior wall is used as the screen to project a movie—often older Disney classics. The church provides pop corn and cold drinks. After the movie, kids enjoy a bouncy house and adults visit with one another. These are community outreach events, not only for our church members
- A summer reading club for kids is sponsored by the church library along with a weekly story As preparation, our Sunday School classes sponsor book drives early in the year (February works!).
- Saturday morning bike rides followed by a light snack and under the trees Bible Study.
- Bottom line: Summer offers unique opportunities to reach our communities for Christ. Kids are out of school, teachers are home, many have vacation days. This is a perfect time to offer activities that people may not be able to take advantage of at other times.
Does it take effort not to just shut activities down for the summer? Of course. Are the results of expanded summer programs worth the effort? Hundreds of churches say, “Absolutely, yes.”
The key to success with these activities—as with activities throughout the year—is involved church leadership inspiring and guiding members to set specific goals, develop doable plans, and commit to making summer count for outreach.
Throughout the process, communication is the glue holding successful projects together: committee chairs keep groups informed; members are kept in the loop and encouraged to work in the programs; and—important beyond measure—word goes out into communities via every means available.
When it comes to summertime outreach, where there’s a will, there’s a way!