2020 has not been what we expected. Graduations, proms, sports seasons, and vacations were all canceled. Birthday parties turned into drive-by parades. Family gatherings turned into Zoom calls. Children’s ministries completely reinvented themselves to reach kids digitally. Now it is summer.
Summer is typically one of the busiest times for children’s ministries, but this summer will obviously be different. For most churches, VBS and camps have been canceled. Weekly programming has not resumed.
How do you do children’s ministry in a summer that will be so very different?
- Think differently. Many of you have done the same programming year after year, but you have many more options than simply “do what we’ve always done” or “do nothing.” Just like you had to get creative during the shut-down season, this summer gives you an opportunity to do something totally different. That can be overwhelming, but let those creative juices flow. Experiment. Have you had an idea that you were curious if it would work? Now is the time to try.
- Think smaller. Depending on your community, large group gatherings may not happen this summer. Many big events are geared around large groups. In fact, that is often how we measure ourselves and compare our ministries with others. This summer, you have the unique opportunity to think smaller. Instead of a huge VBS, do neighborhood backyard Bible clubs. Have age groups gather in homes for Bible study. Meet in parks. Look for opportunities to dig deep with the few this summer.
- Help kids reconnect. Kids have been isolated for months. Not only have they not been at church, but they haven’t been at school, sports, childcare, dance classes, or had any social involvement. They need each other. What can you do this summer to help kids reconnect with each other and acclimate to being in social environments again? Host some small parties with the only purpose being fellowship, or equip volunteers and families to host summer gatherings. Consider partnering kids to have summer “pen pals” and encourage them to email, text, or write old-fashioned letters.
- Maintain digital outlets that are working. Everything you have done during quarantine doesn’t have to go out the window. What really worked? What really connected? What tools can you continue to use while life is not completely “normal”?
- Host online events. We hosted one of Yancy’s at-home concerts for our preschool families and it was a hit! It gave families something new to do, and it pointed kids toward Jesus. Next, we are preparing for a Family Scavenger Hunt that will involve lots of photos and selfies.
- Check out VBS alternatives. LifeWay has done a great job outlining four ways to do VBS.
- Serve the community. Many non-profits and ministries have suffered from the quarantine as well. Many could use some volunteer time. Are there ways that you can empower families or small groups of kids to serve the community?
I would love to hear what you have planned for the summer. How are you being creative?