The following post is part of a series of summer-related posts.
Today, we’ll look at changing up your programming during the summer months.
Our ministry’s ‘summer’ began on Father’s Day, so with God’s help we have successfully survived 3 summer Sundays without our school-year volunteers (who serve Sept – mid June and get the summer off). Because we invite parents, members of our congregation and students to serve during the summer months, we wanted to restructure our ministry to still provide quality programming with the fewest amount of volunteers.
Here’s what we did. and how it’s been working so far:
During the school year, we provide individual classes for 2-yr olds – Kindergartners at each of our two services (eight classrooms). During the summer months, we decided to offer a class for 2-yr olds (using Group’s Hands-on-Bible curriculum) and a mixed-age group for 3-yr olds – Kindergartners (using Orange’s First Look curriculum). This mixed-age room will be a large group/small group format that will include engaging arrival activities, large group time (live worship and Bible story, on DVD) and mixed-age small groups for application activities (crafts, games, etc.), playground time, snack and prayer. The response has been so overwhelmingly positive from children, parents and volunteers that we are considering continuing this format this fall.
Since we bid our rising 6th graders a fond farewell a few weeks ago, we have again decided to combine our rising 2nd – rising 5th graders for the summer. (We’ve done this for the past few years and it’s worked very well). Our summer programming will be just seven weeks this year, as our elementary students worship with their families during the month of August. (Take a look at how we introduced this last summer here). Usually I order the summer XP materials from Orange but the materials they offered this year was a repeat of materials we used last summer so I began praying and asking God to direct me to what materials we should use for the seven weeks of our Sunday programming. I landed on teaching the kids about Moses since our VBS will focus on Moses in the wilderness with the Israelites.
On Sunday mornings, we set up a few arrival activities and lead the children in a large group game to introduce the lesson for the day. Then we move everyone to our large group space for a fun, interactive countdown, worship, prayer, and our Bible story (led by a main storyteller). When our large group time concludes, we split the group into 3 groups and allow the groups to rotate through 3 activity stations, which has included object lessons, memory verse activities, crafts, games and snack. The slightly different format has worked so well that I’ve signed up a few volunteers to serve with us this fall!
In our ministry, attendance fluctuates during the summer months, so we like to take risks and try some new things in the summer. If something’s a hit, we include it in our programming for the new ministry year.
Related article: “Should Kids Ministry Take the Summer Off?“ by Brian Dollar
What does programming in your kidmin look like during the summer months? What ‘risky’ things are you trying this summer?