As school begins to wind down, children begin to get excited about summer break. Summer through a child’s eyes is an amazing thing to behold. We all can relate and remember the lazy days of summer from our own childhood. However, for today’s parents, summer has changed into a busy, fast-paced, non-stop period of eight or so weeks that is almost a blur. So how are we helping parents and kids this summer?
The church has the potential to make a huge difference in children’s lives during the summertime. With the freedom of time available in the summer, a children’s ministry can partner with the parents in engaging children to make an impact spiritually in a child’s life. This seems to be easier for churches as they focus on youth ministry and even older children, but many have a harder time engaging younger children during the summer. Here are a few thoughts in how to achieve success with reaching this key segment of families in your community and church.
1) Have Vacation Bible School early in the summer. This allows you to build relationships with parents and children early in the summer. VBS is typically one of your biggest events, which also can showcase your children’s ministry and impress parents with all that your church does.
2) Communicate well your families. Make sure parents are aware of all the happenings going on with your ministry in the summer. A newsletter through email can accomplish this important step. Be creative with this to not only capture the parent’s attention, but also attach pictures and simple activities a child would like to participate in such as a coloring or activity page.
3) Arrange field trips for the children. Parents of younger children typically don’t like their children to travel to far, but love simple, fun activities close by. Plan some simple outings for the children in town to places like the library or fire department.
4) Weekly playground trips. Coordinate with the families at a local park to gather weekly for a picnic lunch and playtime. The children will love it and the parents will love the opportunity to connect with other parents during the week.
5) Host a mini-children’s camp. This is an abbreviated morning out event. Plan activities for younger children at the church a few days week. This allows parents a break but also gives the children something to look forward to as well.
Summer is a time that many church families take breaks, but also can be a time to really amp up your outreach. Take advantage of the free time and engage these families with a strong outreach program. Remember the old saying – “If you reach the kids, you will reach the parents.”