by Sheik Ally/ April 20, 2016
Summer is my favorite season of the year. I love the weather, the schedule, and the opportunity to do something completely different in kids’ ministry.
In the summer of 2015, we used Mega Sports Camp as a four-day outreach that proved to be a major success. Over the course of the week, we had 70 volunteers doing everything from preparing snacks to leading small groups and drew 140-150 individual kids, almost 70% of which had never been to our church.
As you can probably guess, I love planning and hosting summer outreaches, and here are five reasons why.
1) Summer outreaches provide a non-threatening way for you to get to know your community.
My church is situated right next to several communities filled with families that don’t spend time with us during most of the year. I don’t see them on Easter or during our Fall event. But last year when I advertised our free sports camp, many of those same families participated. A few of them eventually became regular attenders.
We made sure to refrain from using traditional church language in our marketing materials, and we were able to put up posters all over town.
2) Summer outreaches can be a break from the norm.
During the summer, the rules are a little different. I can dress a little more casually and spend more time outside the church office. I love using the summer as an opportunity to do things that we wouldn’t do during other times of the year.
Water events, messy games, sports stuff—there is nothing off limits as long as you can provide an atmosphere that is safe as well as fun.
3) Summer outreaches give kids an opportunity to get out of the house.
As adults, we tend to look back on our childhood summer days with a distorted nostalgia. But for a lot of kids, summer can be pretty boring. After a few weeks of sleeping in and playing video games, a lot of kids are hungry for new and exciting experiences. And their parents are desperate to get them out of the house!
A summer outreach can be exactly the kind of activity that kids need to get them outdoors and active. When they’re writing the inevitable “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” essay during their first week of school, they could share with their class how much fun they had at the local kids’ ministry.
4) Summer outreaches give you the chance to recruit, build, and train your ministry team.
Recruiting and training is an ongoing responsibility for ministry leaders. However, it can be a real challenge to bring and equip new volunteers into the ministry, en masse, during the busier times of the year.
Short-term events, especially during the summer, give you the opportunity to get a large number of people involved in ministry, train them for specific positions, and evaluate whether or not they’d be a good fit for your general ministry team. For volunteers, it’s a chance to try out a ministry without having to make a long-term commitment.
5) Summer outreaches are just fun.
Our Mega Sports Camp was the most fun and most successful outreach event of our entire year of ministry. In planning the following year, it was the first event that went on the calendar.
A well-planned and well-executed summer outreach has the potential to be a huge success for you, your team, and your ministry. It gives you the opportunity to invite new families into your church and help them become lifelong followers of Jesus.
Find some resources, grab some volunteers, and make this summer the best summer of your ministry!