Summer Event Planning

If youre not all ready planning your summer programs, you should be. Summer is a great time for evangelism programs. Children are out of school, and parents love to bring children to events that will curb the summer boredom.

 

Vacation Bible School, Kid’s Crusades, Carnivals, Sports Events, and Camps are some wonderful ways to minister to children. But there are lots of other ways to minister to children over the summer.

 

Heres some tips for planning your summer program:

 

Pray, Pray, Pray! In case I didnt get my point across, you need to pray before planning any events. The most effective ministries are not the ones you ask God to bless, but the ones God directs you to have. Be in His will, and He will bless your efforts.

 

Dont overload the calendar. Many times, childrens pastors want to use the time available to plan as much for the children as possible. If you do this, parents will soon tire of the endless calendar of events and stop bringing the children. Remember, sometimes less is more.

 

Think outside the box. Just because youve always had Vacation Bible School, doesn’t mean you always have to have Vacation Bible School. You might want to have VBS, but do it in an entirely different way. Or you might want a different event altogether like a kid’s crusade or sports camp. Don’t always do the same thing. Plan out of the box. Look at what is no longer effective, and change it.

 

Remember not to be a one man show. Develop a team and release some of the responsibility to them. You can only do so much. A team can do so much more.

Project Management Resources

One of the most important parts of project management for children’s pastors is determining your available resources and deciding what resources you need.

Money:

The first resource you’ll want to look at is how much money has been budgeted for your project. Usually the amount of money is beyond your control. Pastors and councils usually set up the budget. But it helps to work closely with your pastor and communicate how much you need to accomplish your project and which items can be taken off the wish list if need be. If you do that, your pastor will be more likely to work with you in establishing a great program.

Once you know how much the church will provide, look at your budget creatively. Are there items that can be donated by people or businesses? Do you want to fundraise to get extra money? Will you take an offering to defray expenses.

Sometimes there are easy ways to cut expenses. For instance, to use the VBS example, you could buy craft materials at a discount craft store to make crafts rather than use the expensive kits most VBS’s provide. Or you could eliminate the student books and substitute activities.

Calendar:

Your church calendar is a resource you can’t afford to overlook. Don’t just find an empty date on the calendar. Check what’s going on with other ministries in the church.

If you use teens for your event and the teens are going on a youth retreat, you might not want to schedule your event for the same week-end. If you do, you’ll find yourself scrambling for workers.

Also if your church has a busy season, your workers and parents may be overloaded by one more event on the calendar. A little pre-planning will save you headaches.

Once you have a date scheduled, communicate to the church and ministry leaders so they won’t plan anything to conflict with your project. Also let your workers know early so they can plan to work at the event.

Workers:

Determine how many workers you’ll need and write short job descriptions for each role your workers will play. Also have a wish list of extra jobs in case you have more workers than you thought you would.

You might also want to schedule different people for clean up and follow up after the event. Sometimes after an event, your workers will be tired and want to go home rather than tear down. If you have another crew ready to come in, it will make things that much easier.

Planning Significant Events for Children’s Ministry

Many times children’s pastors are bogged down by a busy calendar with events they plan at the last minute. Some of these events, sometimes important ones, get left by the wayside while others that have no influence of significance are at the forefront.

It’s not important how busy your calendar is. What is important is how effective your events are. This year, try looking at events in a new way. Throw out the ones that don’t work or change them, and consider new ideas.

Here’s a guide to decide what events to plan.

Is the event something your children’s ministry is known for? There are some events that will resonate with the children in the community. Your children’s ministry will be known for having those events every year.

It may be that you have the most creative VBS around or that you have a Back to School Bash and Block Party that nobody wants to miss. Those are the events you want to keep on your calendar at all costs.

Is the event working? You have VBS every year with the same theme as ten other churches within a one mile radius. It’s hard to find workers, and only 20 kids show up, but you’ve always had VBS. This event may have worked at one time, but it’s time to give it a proper burial.

You may decide to do something different this year. Have a kid’s crusade or a sports camp. Do a block party or park ministry. The point is you have options. Don’t keep doing something that doesn’t work.

Do you have the resources and workers to hold an event? You want to give bookbags and school supplies to those in need. But if your church only has a congregation of fifty, you may not have the resources to do what you’ve planned.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have the event, but you do have to take that into consideration. You might decide to hold off until your church grows. Or you might partner with other churches and community organizations to make it happen. Or you might limit it to children in your church. But you need to consider that factor.

What need does this event meet?

Does your children’s ministry need to disciple? Then you’ll want to plan events that meet that need.

Do the children in your ministry not connect with each other? Then you might want to plan some fellowship events.

Does your children’s ministry have a problem reaching the community? Then you’ll want to plan community outreaches that draw in more than church families.

Consider the needs of your children’s ministry, and plan events accordingly.

What purpose does your event have? The church has a five-fold purpose: evangelism, fellowship, benevolence, worship, and discipleship. Make sure every event you plan fits neatly in one of those purposes. It may overlap some, but don’t try to have events that are geared toward all of these purposes. When you know an events purpose, you can plan it better.

For instance, if I have a children’s ministry party whose purpose is evangelism, I’m going to find creative ways to get children outside the church, but if it’s purpose is fellowship, my main goal will be to get church children there and provide team building activities for them. If an event doesn’t have one of those five purposes, it doesn’t need to be on your calendar.

Do you have the time and the workers? It’s better to have a couple of events that really work than to load your calendar with an event every month. Consider resources, time constraints, and workers available when planning your events.

Also consider what’s going on in other areas of the church. Don’t expect teenage workers to help if they have their own party going on at the same time.

If your church has a ladies event every year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, that probably isn’t the right time to plan a children’s outing. Many of your workers, moms, won’t be available to help, and they won’t bring their children because they already have plans.

During Christmas, consider that moms are overwhelmed with chores. Don’t expect them to show up at Christmas Play rehearsals unless you can advertise it to them that they can leave their kids there while they finish up their shopping.

Church Camp

Katie came to church camp for the first time. Her friend who sometimes took her to church invited her. Katie still wasn’t going to go, her friend offered to pay her way. Katie loved camp. During one of the worship services, she responded to the altar call and gave her life to Christ.

Joshua came to church camp every year. He loved church camp and always looked forward to the sports events. Last year, he won an award for the sports elective he chose. This year was different though. This year, Joshua was pulled in by the evangelist who preached at the services. One night, during service, God moved on Joshua’s heart. He was saved at the age of four, but that night, Joshua committed his life to serve God. God called him to be a full-time minister at the age of ten.

Nick didn’t like school. He struggled to do the work. Kids picked on him and teased him. He didn’t like coming home either. His mom and dad screamed at each other. They barely noticed he was there. Nick looked forward all year to church camp. There, he felt loved. His cabin leader always had a kind word for him. The evangelist preached about God’s love. He had fun swimming and doing other events. When he didn’t do as well as the other kids, nobody made fun of him. The camp youth director even said hi to him and knew his name. Camp was the place where Nick learned God loved him. To Nick, church camp was better than Christmas.

These stories come true every year at church camp. Church camp is one of the most effective tools to minister to children and youth. I want to challenge you to make the effort to send the children in your ministry to camp this year. If it’s too late for this year, make the decision now to do whatever it takes to make sure they can go next year. You’ll be glad you did.

If you worked in church camp, this year, please comment and share your testimonies of the wonderful things that happened at church camp.