Your evaluation of previous years’ efforts may prompt you to make some adjustments in your summer activities.
For the past two years the church I serve (Covenant in Fayetteville, GA) has offered prepared meals during June and July. This combined with a special program each week attracted about half of our Sunday morning congregation. Some features included: young musician’s night, which has brought grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc.; missionaries known to the church; an old fashioned hymn sing, as well as musical groups and speakers outside our church family.
1) It fostered relationships within the church (we have two morning services).
2) It generated ongoing enthusiasm for other activities during what has usually been a down time.
3) Visitors from our morning services were invited as our special guests and many came. It helped some determine that they wanted to make the church their home.
We’ve offered one-month and/or six-week studies over the summer. We are doing two-month blocks the rest of the year. The jury is still out on whether that is a factor in increasing attendance.
All our young children (4 years and older), middle- and high-school kids work on a construction project over the summer, along with any adults who wish to participate. The first year we did the tabernacle, last summer it was Noah’s Ark, and in ’05 we will make a replica of New Jerusalem.
1) It has brought some children to Sunday school who don’t ordinarily come.
2) It produced a significant bump in attendance.
3) It gave most teachers a two and a half month break.
4) It avoided having just one or two children in a class.
5) It gave us an intergenerational learning activity.
Since our schools begin in mid-August, we start fall activities then. (If you use CE&P curriculum, it’s no problem getting materials for a mid-August start.)
If you’re struggling, reflect again on your purpose and how you want to achieve it.
Last summer our church’s intern did a Backyard Bible Club in a neighboring county where we are planting a church. There were 204 children who came for one or more of the three days. They heard the gospel. Also several contacts were made for the new congregation.
Your setting might benefit from a one day or evening activity once a week over four to six weeks. Or you might be able to do a day camp running from morning into the afternoon. Years ago I led one in a mission congregation that had no property. We used a public park.
Another option would be a different kind of program, either a substitute for VBS or in addition. For two years we’ve had a Music Arts and Drama Camp. MAD Camp has attracted some who expressed no interest in VBS. The same was true for the Swim Camp we offered last summer. (There’s a pool on our property.)
Don’t do something different just to be different. But don’t be afraid to try something if you believe it will better utilize your resources to achieve your purpose. That means failure is always lurking. And you will fail. We tried a soccer camp two years ago. We had a professional player to lead and we live in a community where the sport is incredibly popular, but it didn’t work.
I’ve often said that much of what I have done hasn’t worked all that well. But the things that have worked make the effort worthwhile.
May God pour out his blessings as you attempt to serve him in the most effective way possible.
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