The last day of school means freedom and fun for kids; for the children’s minister it marks the beginning of a season of low attendance and waning participation. For some ministers, it is a season for planning and personal revival. (The rest of us spend time worrying that our sheep aren’t coming back! Thank goodness most of them do!) As you know, Christian ministry has had to change over the past few years. The kids’ pastor must constantly seek new ways to reach and manage his or her flock and this summer is no exception.
I’m taking a proactive stance again this year. I refused to succumb to discouragement because of expecting the status quo. I’ve begun my summer ministry with a different perspective and some practical steps that will keep me close to my kids. These “new thoughts” helped me adjust last year so I’m sharing them with you in hopes you can use them too. Here they are in no special order.
Change the way you count attendance. Summer attendance is not measured by how many kids walk into your building. It is counted by how many kids you reached that week through venues like outdoor activities, by phone or through cards and newsletters.
Expect to go outdoors. Be the fun pastor. I use a map and mark where my kids are by their addresses. I ask kids and their families, if they would be willing to host a ministry fun day. The goals are to reach the kids in their neighborhood and minister to the regulars with fun, safe activities. I bring the slip and slide, the bubble machine or a volleyball set. We gather their friends and have a great time!
Change your children’s church format. To placate a child’s summer playfulness, we added special summer puppets, summer-inspired games and worship time with beach balls. I adjusted the regular format to include a few more games and time for socialization. It works!
Establish stronger social connections. During the summer, I work hard on updating my statistical information. I pursue parents and grandparents for new addresses, phone numbers and information. I want my summer newsletters featuring our new program updates, to go to the right address.
Build momentum towards a big summer event. As I’ve mentioned in other articles, I’m a big proponent of the one-night kids’ crusade. Nothing like ending the summer with a big dose of the Word and loving on God. I create a fun theme like “Summer Splash Down” or “God’s Big Fireworks” and then go from there. Every week, I talk it up during kids’ church, through my social networks and it even goes in the “big” newsletter. This gives kids’ an additional reason to come back to church at the end of summer.
Don’t succumb to the summer doldrums. Change your methods and reap big rewards.
Read more from Mimi by reading her latest book, 30 Days of Encouragement: Volume One.