Summer will be here before you know it, and for many ministries,
it can be a tough time. For some reason, attendance seems to go
down, and it can be a struggle at times. But it can be a time for
growth in attendance, in volunteers, and even for yourself
professionally. You just need some kids’ ministry
I’m excited to share an interview with Kathie Phillips, director
of children’s ministry at Central Presbyterian Church in Baltimore,
Maryland. If you don’t follow her posts over at kidminspiration.com, you might want to go and
bookmark it now. It was named one of the top 100 children’s ministry blogs and if full
of great reading! She’s an expert in all things kidmin and knows
how to make the most out of summer. She graciously gave us some of
her time, and I wanted to share our interview with you.
DJ: Can you tell us more about yourself
and your ministry?
Kids LOVE these Sunday School resources!
KP: Each week approximately 150 children, birth
- 5th Grade, attend our weekend programming. I’m excited
because of all that God is doing in the ministry and even more
excited to serve alongside my husband Lance and our two teenagers,
Daniel and Kennedy.
DJ: Summer can be a difficult time for some
ministries, with summer sports and vacations hurting guest and
volunteer numbers. What do you do to keep your ministry going
strong during those summer months? Do you make any changes to your
KP: We realize that attendance fluctuates
during the summer months, particularly in the month of August. As a
result, we structure our programming accordingly.
Our summer programming usually kicks off on Father’s Day weekend
and is scaled back some during the summer months because we give
our school-year volunteers the summers off. Our classrooms are
staffed by parents, teens and other members of our congregation,
some who prefer to serve during the summer months. The curriculum
that we’ve chosen in the past has been extremely teacher-friendly
and adaptable to be taught by someone coming in the morning-of. We
also do a little more prep work since our volunteers usually change
weekly and we want to make their morning with us a smooth as
We are more likely to combine our classrooms based on attendance
and the number of volunteers signed up. Last summer, we suspended
programming for our elementary and preteen ministries during the
month of August so that families could worship together.
Our children are promoted to new classrooms in early September
so volunteer training and advertising for new classrooms are
heavily promoted, particularly in the month of August.
While programming for our ministry is scaled back during the
summer months, we still keep our essentials, safety and quality
teaching, a priority. We never compromise on these things.
DJ: What summer events have you done where and
have you seen success?
KP: Our biggest summer event is our annual
Summer Bible Camp. It has grown to over 300 children and 250
volunteers. We draw children not only from within our church body
but also from other churches and neighborhoods in our community.
We’ve found that many of our children make a profession of faith
during our Summer Bible Camp, so that makes it extremely worthwhile
DJ: VBS (or Summer Bible Camp) is always a big
deal. What tips and tricks do you have for pulling off a successful
VBS/Summer Camp? What do you do before to promote it and after to
keep kids coming back?
KP: We take time at the end of each Summer
Bible Camp to do a thorough evaluation while things are still fresh
in our minds. The ideas that stem from our evaluation meeting are
extremely helpful in planning for the upcoming year.
We begin formulating our team and planning months in advance so
that everyone has adequate time to get ready. We’re also able to
rewrite scripts, alter our set design and select crafts well in
Promotion is usually handled through our website, in-church
announcements and the church bulletin. However, our biggest
promotion is done by word of mouth from our church members and
We try to have a very seeker-friendly sermon series following
our Summer Bible Camp so that unchurched families would consider
attending after camp has concluded. Last year, we provided ticket
books for elementary kids to redeem for a weekly giveaway that
corresponded with our sermon series. That went over well.
DJ: What can children’s ministers do
during the summer to recharge?
KP: I think summer is a good time to
refresh your soul. Summers are busy with activities, programming
and planning for the fall kick-off, so taking some time to nourish
your own soul is important. I would recommend any type of reading
material that refreshes you personally.
I want to thank the wonderful Kathie Phillips for sharing her
thoughts with us today. Remember to check out her website, and
follow her through social media:
How does your ministry change during the summer? What do you do
to recharge? Let us know in the comment section below!