COMPILED BY DEANNA GREILING
Used with permission from Outreach Magazine
Summer is just around the corner and families are looking for ways to keep the children busy and have some fun together as well as get connected and reach the community in the church. Our friends over at Outreach magazine compiled and published a great list of idea starters in their annual Outreach 100 Fastest-Growing Churches in America special issue and here are our favorite ideas for Summer 2019:
- Assign each adult Sunday school class (or small group) to a geographical area in the city and outlying areas, with a designated “care captain.” Send teams door-to-door to survey each area’s greatest needs, then encourage each group to find ways to meet those needs. Take along church invites and offer to pray for people as you go.
- Start a support group for teens struggling with addiction, parental divorce, peer pressure, depression, abuse or other problems. The ministry Celebrate Recovery created The Landing resources specifically to help youths with these kinds of issues (CelebrateRecovery.com).
- Host a wild game feed and invite men from the community to enjoy deer, elk and other wild game. Donate any excess meat to a nearby soup kitchen. Give away sport-related prizes. Have a guest speaker share the gospel and extend an invitation to a men’s Bible study.
- Re-engage your congregation with a mission to reach people for Christ. Challenge churchgoers to choose one person to pray for, be intentional with and invite to a service. Then hold a special service specifically geared to those visitors. (Check out National Back to Church Sunday)
- During sweltering summer months, make your church building a respite from the heat. Invite moms and toddlers, providing play areas and free Wi-Fi access. Or provide transportation to bring local seniors to and from their homes, giving them a cool place to spend the day.
- Recruit bicyclists for ministry. Every week, a group of cyclists from one Southern California church ride their bikes to local parks and distribute sack lunches while developing relationships with individuals in the homeless community.
- Bless a teacher by donating classroom supplies or cash. Help teachers offset their out-of-pocket cost of purchasing supplies. Make it something your church does at the beginning of the school year or consider “adopting” and supporting a teacher all year long.
- Provide free school supplies in donated backpacks with color-coded stickers for each grade level and host a block party where kids can pick them up.
- Connect with motorcycle enthusiasts in your community. Sponsor a motorcycle rally and invite bikers to join in.
- Plant a garden and invite the community to reap the bounty while also helping cash-strapped families.
- Give away free ice cream treats around town along with information about your church. Or host a homemade ice cream festival at the church campus and offer free tastings for guests. July is National Ice Cream Month.
- Offer swimming lessons to connect with kids and their families. If a public pool doesn’t already offer swim lessons (or if your church has a pool on its premises), offer to pay certified swim instructors and host free or low-cost swim lessons.
- Hold an outdoor, dog-friendly service. Designate a Saturday evening service where members can bring their dog to church with them. This might be great during summer, when you can hold services outdoors.
- Designate a Sunday to host your church’s worship service at a local amusement park—complete with a post-service picnic.
- Mow lawns for free throughout the summer—a much-needed service, particularly for the elderly.
- During the summer break, plan activities that build relationships with teenagers who don’t know Jesus. The conversations you will have just hanging out will open doors to spiritual discussions. Disciple young believers and draw them closer to Jesus.
- Connect with your community by participating in a Fourth of July or other holiday parade.
- Reach out to folks at the county fair. Rent a booth at the fair and ask church members to sign up to serve as ambassadors. Share photos of service or missions work your church has done, as well as a list of ministries and service times.
- Start an adventure sports ministry with people who love outdoor sports. Make it appealing to people of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced.
- Unite with other local churches for community outreach and demonstrate unity in Jesus. One Georgia church hosted the “Day of Fellowship and Outreach” event and invited other churches to join them. The group of churches arranged a family-friendly event in a local park to let their community know that there’s help, hope and healing in Jesus, as well as demonstrating unity between churches.
- Host a community-wide play date. Schedule a regular playtime each month at your facility, complete with themes, activity stations for the kids and snacks. Give parents information about the church and introduce them to church staff.