Christmas decorations and hot apple cider may be right around the corner, but now is the time for you to be planning the summer calendar for your children's ministry. I don't envy your responsibility to juggle VBS, Day Camp, Mom's Day Out, Away Camp, Wild Wednesdays, and water days around baseball, swim meets, and family vacations. I do, however, envy your opportunity to invest in kids through experiences that they will talk about for years and years this summer.
So, get out your notebook or your iPad. Stand up and shake out the stress that you feel when you read the word "summer." Fill up your coffee cup one more time. Let's walk through this process together so that you can spend all your time investing and none of it panicking about preparation this summer.
Answer these three questions:
1. What's the vision?
What do you want each kid to experience during the summer? What would you offer for kids in your church and community if budget, number of volunteers, and facility was not in the equation? Dream big and play the "what if" game. How can you take that dream and make it (or a form of it) reality?
2. What's the purpose?
What needs are you meeting in your church and your community? What action steps do you want each child to walk away from the event ready to live out?
3. What events can we do and when can we schedule them?
What type of events do you want to offer? How can you utilize the passions and giftings of those in your church? When do the major scheduling conflicts happen (maybe early summer is baseball all-stars or families vacation around July 4th in your church)?
-Don't over-schedule yourself. If you are unable to invest or your volunteers are burned out with all the events they've helped with, then the level of investment in kids will suffer. Try to schedule lower-prep events near higher-prep events to balance.
-It doesn't have to be perfect. Kids love to have fun and they love to know that adults care about what is going on in their lives. If you succeed in meeting the purpose you have set then don't sweat it if there are speed bumps along the way.
-You don't have to do this alone. There are tons of gifted people in your church and resources out there to help you along the way. Bring a team along for the ride.
-Send home a schedule of events long before summer hits so families can schedule around church events.
Here are a few resources that may be solutions to the event you want to schedule:
Zip for Kids:
Zip for Kids provides 10 Bible study lessons, large group and small group material, 16 5-day track time plans, videos, and more content that you can imagine. This resource is a great fit for a weekly curriculum, an overnight camp, a day camp, lots of Wild Wednesdays, or any other event that you might need. You can equip people in your church to serve in the way they are gifted and minister to your community through activities that interest them with this option! You can even use it for multiple events during the summer. See more about Zip for Kids here.
VBS provides 5 days of lessons centered around who Jesus is and what He has done for us. This year, kids will dive into apologetics at VBS and will learn how to defend the faith that they have in Jesus in a world that does not always understand why we want to follow Him. VBS is a great option to use for outreach in your community as kids hear the story of the Gospel each day through the curriculum. They'll love recreation, music, crafts, and snacks that they'll get to experience throughout the week. See more about VBS here.
CentriKid offers overnight camps for kids who are rising 3rd graders through completed 6th graders. Kids are placed into Bible study groups of like-aged kids and experience Bible study, recreation, track times, worship, quiet times, and much more! CentriKid staff is trained to build relationships with kids that point them to Jesus, so you'll see staff sitting with kids at meals and hanging out with them during Hang Time. See more about CentriKid Camps here.
What do you do during the summer for your kids? What is your favorite event and why?