Summer is always a hectic time for Children’s Ministry. Here’s a checklist to help the summer go smoother.
Camp Applications: If you have church camp for your children, make sure the information and applications have been sent to parents.
Summer Teachers/Program: Summer is a time that wrecks havoc for Sunday School programs because of vacations and weekend trips. If you do something special for summer, make sure it’s in place and teachers are aware. If not, have a list of substitutes to teach when regular teachers are out of town. Remind regular teachers to give you a list of weeks they’ll be gone ASAP.
Vacation Bible School: Do you have your workers in place for VBS? Have you ordered all the materials you’ll need? Plan a meeting for workers to pass out materials and answer their questions.
Kid’s Crusades: Have you booked a date for your kid’s crusade with the children’s evangelist? Make sure you have talked to the evangelist about all the details of the crusade.
Plan Summer Children’s Church: During the summer, you’ll be busier than normal and will be tempted to skimp on Children’s Church planning. You can avoid this by planning the whole summer program ahead of time.
Check Your Supplies: If you haven’t already done so, this is a good time to check and organize the supplies you’ll need for the summer.
While nothing can keep the summer from overwhelming even the most organized Children’s Pastor, the more you pre-plan for the weeks ahead, the better prepared you’ll be.
Block parties are a terrific way to reach the neighborhood around your church, especially if you have a lot of children living nearby. Block parties are essentially parties you give for the neighborhood. A good block party will have the following elements.
Invitation Blitz: If you are going to have a lot of people at your block party, you will need to go into the neighborhood and compel them to come. Print out a flier as an invitation. Then have teams go into the neighborhood by two’s and knock on every door. You could also go the route of a mass mailing, but personal invitations work so much better.
Good Food: This is a drawing card. Whether you have a cookout, spaghetti, or vendors with different foods, print what you’re having to eat on the flier. Also make sure you let them know it’s free.
Music & Drama Groups: Music should be upbeat and contemporary. If you don’t have enough music and drama groups to entertain the whole time, invite groups from other churches to minister.
Entertainment For Kids: Your carnival will draw a crowd if you have lots of entertainment for the kids. If your budget allows, have inflatables such as bounce houses, slides, and obstacle courses. Make carnival games for the children to play. Have someone make balloon animals. Have a team of people do face painting. If you have somebody who does clowning or gospel illusions, have him at the block party.
Evangelism: Train an evangelism team to make friends with the people who come, to share what the church has to offer, and to pray with people.
Prayer: This and every event should be bathed in prayer.
Park Ministry is a great way to minister to children over the summer. Whether you go to different parks and low income housing projects each time, or go to the same park at the same time every week, it can be very effective. Here are some tips to make park ministry work for you.
Decide where to go. This is a very important step. Going to a park to do ministry, when there are no children there, can be very discouraging. Canvass you city. Find out when sports practices that are held in city parks are and plan to be there when they let out. Find out where children congregate. Then contact the people in charge of that area and get their permission.
Develop your team. Park ministry doesn’t just consist of front people. Teach a group of people of various ages how to witness and release them to talk with people in the park an hour before your program. One effective tool is to teach your students how to witness, then have them play in the park. They can be instructed to invite the other children to the event when it starts.
Have upbeat music and entertainment that present the gospel in a fun and nonthreatening way. Some methods you could use are balloon animals, juggling, gospel illusions, drama, puppets, and object sermons. Make sure to make each presentation short and to the point.
Have information available about your church. If someone is interested in learning more about God, have information about your church and your children’s ministry readily available.
Find a way to get names and addresses for follow up. One way could be to have a drawing for a giant candy bar or a ten dollar bill. That way, you have a legitimate way to ask people for their contact information.
Use park ministry to start other things. Park ministry could help launch other ministries in your church such as bus ministry, sidewalk Sunday school, backyard VBS, and benevolence ministries.
Bath it in prayer. Whenever you have park ministry, plan a time before it takes place to have a prayer walk around the park.
If you’re 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.
Here’s some tips for planning your summer program:
Pray, Pray, Pray! In case I didn’t 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.
Don’t overload the calendar. Many times, children’s 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 you’ve 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.