21 Creative Hacks for Your Easiest Summer Programs

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Spring has sprung, and summer’s standing by–are you ready for summer programs?

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Use our handy emergency-preparedness guide to ensure your summer ministry plans stay on track.

3 Ways to Get VBS Supplies

Waiting until May to order VBS supplies can leave you high and dry if your supplier is out of the items you need.

Wait. Order the supplies you need and wait. Sometimes items are on back order or may be returned by other churches that ordered too much.

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• Ask. Many curriculum companies offer alternative products or provide substitution ideas for crafts.

Network. Check with churches in your area to see if they over-purchased for their programs or would be willing to lend you a prop that’s sold out.

 

4 New Types of Volunteers to Try

Your weekend volunteers want a summer vacation–apart from volunteering in your ministry. Give them the break they deserve with these last-minute summer volunteer options.

• Parent Power-Ask parents to supplement your summer openings by helping in a classroom at least once over the summer. Who knows–it may become your best fall recruiting tool!

Merge-If your attendance drops over summer months, consider merging into a multi-age program–these typically require less volunteer power.

• Collegiate Push-Tap college students who are home for the summer as volunteers–their energy, age, and creativity captivate younger children.

• Off-Duty-School employees often miss little faces when they’re not in school. Ask them to bless you with their experience on Sundays during the summer.

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4 Easy Programs to Connect Kids

Have you planned extra opportunities to minister to kids over the summer? Try these easy ideas.

• Park-and-Play-Meet kids at a local park for lunch and an hour of play time. Use this time to get to know kids in a small group environment, free of programming worries.

Church Mice-Have kids sign up for a morning of doughnuts and service. Kids can come for a light breakfast on a Monday morning, then work together to clean your worship center, bathrooms, and common areas after busy Sunday services.

Walk About-Call a group of kids to meet you at a local trail head and venture into God’s creation for hiking, conversation, and friendship.

Bookworms-Choose a kid’s book and have it available for purchase during your weekend worship services. Choose one day a week for kids to come back to church for a book discussion. Let kids dress up as characters from the story or together make a snack that relates to the book.

 

4 Things to Do Before You Vacate

When you take time off this summer, don’t forget to cover your responsibilities at church. Nothing puts a damper on a family vacation like a panicked phone call from the church on Sunday morning.

• Plan. Don’t plan your family vacation for the week before vacation Bible school or on the day your summer volunteers start their service. You can’t be present for everything, but respect your staff by planning appropriate times to be away.

Empower. Enlist one or two experienced volunteers to fill in for you during weekend services. Give them a local contact, such as your pastoral supervisor, in case they need direction or there’s an emergency.

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Supply. Gather and label all of the necessary supplies for activities while you’re away. This takes planning-but your volunteers will appreciate it immensely.

• List. Provide a thorough list for people covering your duties while you’re away. Include a copy of the lesson, volunteer assignments, location of extra supplies, and any other information they’ll need to survive.

 

4 Last-Minute Decorating Ideas

Need to add a little pizazz to your summer programming? Here are quick ways to spruce up your meeting area without a lot of time, money, or effort.

• Color-Use balloons throughout your meeting area. Purchase colorful fabric remnants to hang from the ceiling-drape and twist the fabric for variety in different areas.

Signs-Look beyond the obvious locations to place signs. Tape directional signs in thematic shapes on the floor to help people find rooms or to advertise your vacation Bible school.

Shapes-Summer’s a great time to pick up kites, inflatable beach toys, or garden items to hang from ceilings and walls.

Posters-Enlarge photos of children in your ministry, secure the images on a foam core board, and mount these welcoming photos at the entrance of your children’s ministry area.

 

2 Low-Key Ideas If You’re New

I started as a children’s ministry director at a new church one June. The previous leader hadn’t planned any summer programming other than sleep-away camp. Rather than cramming a lot of last-minute events into my summer, I used the down time to build relationships with volunteers, kids, and families. Here’s how.

Camp Connections-At camp I got to know kids and identified potential leaders.

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• Low-Key Links-I planned simple, fun days at places families enjoyed such as the water park, a local pizza eatery, and an indoor skating rink.

By offering opportunities for families, I built relationships with kids and parents, which gave me a foundation for a strong kick-off and volunteer base in the fall. -Carmen Kamrath

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