While the weather in my little part of the world today says otherwise, summer is literally right around the corner. Depending on where you live, kids are out of school or will be in a few short weeks, and then, summer begins!
Summer is one of my favourite times of year, hands-down. The weather, the family time, the space just to sit back and breathe, and the abundance of iced coffee makes it such a wonderful season. However, if like me, and you’re in children’s ministry, the wonders of summer come partnered with frustration.
The summer season often brings with it disconnect, lack of volunteers, and the struggle to connect with kids regularly. Many kids’ pastors and leaders I talk to (and yes, I include myself in this number) express their frustrations and discontent with the way ministry happens over the summer months.
Thankfully, I believe that while summer will be a different time in kids’ ministry, it doesn’t have to be a wasted time. Summer can be a time of intentional and fruitful ministry to kids and their families, if we approach it in the right way.
Find a way to connect outside of Sundays.
The reality of summer is that many families are travelling, vacationing and missing church on Sundays. Instead of griping and complaining about it, we need to find a way to work with it! One of the ways we can do this is by finding intentional ways to follow up outside of Sundays.
The ways you can do this are endless! One of the best ways I’ve found to do this in our ministry is to provide a tangible take-home for the summer months. Two years ago, we walked through the book of James as a church family over the summer months, so I created this Journey through James devotional to accompany it. Last summer, we went through the book of Jonah with our adults and kids, so we used a Jonah Journal!
These devotional books allowed kids to stay in the loop about what we were learning at church during the summer, even if they weren’t there! It also provided simple ways for parents to keep faith at the forefront, even when they weren’t at church every weekend.
This year, we are using this Fruit of the Spirit Takeout Box to go along with our summer lessons and keep families connected! You can too.
Other options include giving families a devotional book to work through over the summer, a box full of activities to use on the road, or a simple church-wide challenge to use! I’ll link up some of my favourites at the end of this post.
Social media is your friend.
While social media isn’t the be-all and end-all of summer ministry, it sure helps! Unless your families are vacationing in an isolated location, they’ll have access to wi-fi somewhere along the line. Using your ministry’s social media platform to keep families connected is a great way to stay connected.
In our ministry, we have a public page for our Next Gen Ministries and a closed group just for parents and guardians whose kids regularly attend. Over the summer months, we will share tidbits from Sunday teaching, YouTube videos to watch, fun challenges & updates about upcoming events. This makes people feel like a part of what is happening, no matter where they find themselves.
I also believe that regular social media reminders increase engagement and attendance with those who are present during the summer months. When regular routine goes out the window, many families simply forget about the activities you have planned. Blasting those events out on social media helps keep them informed and reminded – making them more likely to show up!
Take advantage of strategic events.
While summer probably isn’t the best time to introduce that new, exciting ministry you have been thinking about, it is a time to think about strategic and intentional events. Families are on the move during the summer, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely shut down!
Take a look at your town or city’s calendar for the summer, and see if you can create a strategic presence there. For us, it looks like being intentionally present at Canada Day & our town’s Clarenville Day celebrations in whatever capacity is available. It looks like putting off a Family Movie Night when there is a lot of rain in the forecast, or a Games Night at the Park when it’s calling for sunshine.
Summer is a great opportunity to connect with the families in your church, and those you don’t regularly see! It’s a great time to get involved in your community, forge new connections, and share the love of Jesus! Get creative and get intentional during this season.
These are just a few simple ways you can make your summer season one of thriving and connecting! While it will look different in every context, take the time to stay on track this summer and intentionally disciple and connect with kids and their families.
Looking for some resource suggestions? Check these out:
- “Take Out Church” at Build Faith
- “Summer Family Challenge” at Deeper Kidmin
- Here’s the Journey through Jonah series we did last summer!
- “Summer Bible Bucket” from Vanessa Myers
- “The Bible is my Best Friend Devotional” by Sheila Walsh
- “Indescribable” Devotional by Louie Giglio
- “I Am” Devotional by Diane Stortz
- My devotional releases July 1 and would be a great gift for families this summer!