Summer is almost here! So what special things are you planning for your congregation and community? Is this summer going to be a void which you just muddle through or is it going to contain events that will make memories for a lifetime? Summer offers some opportunities that we don’t usually have to work with so here are some ideas for things your congregation could do. Notice that several take place on the grounds of the church in order to draw in the community as well.
#1 Church Lawn Golf: Many church lawns just exist so why not turn it into a miniature golf course for a night or several nights? You can cut the grass close, take out a plug of dirt, and insert a plastic cup. If you want to get really energetic you could even create some special challenge holes. If you have a miniature golf course business close by you will want to be careful not to be problematic to them; perhaps rent equipment from them or give them free publicity.
#2 Congregation Hike, Stroll, or Walk: In Germany they are called Volksmarches and are opportunities to get out and see the beauty around us as well as to socialize. Many of these walks go through woods or parks but they don’t have to be only in those places. These hikes are different from competition runs because the focus in on just being there. How about a 1 or 2 mile walk through your town going past historic highlights, or you could go around the neighborhood beside your congregation, or perhaps there is a park where you could set it up. You could do a ‘check in’ station and perhaps one or more ‘refreshment’ stations along the way. You could also have an ending celebration with food, music and socializing. At Volksmarches they give out medals to all participants which are unique to the location and date of the walk; this could even turn into an annual event for your congregation. Those who can’t walk can still participate by enjoying the end point celebration or by helping with the various stations.
#3 Congregation Bike Ride: This is like the walk but on bikes. Again you could have several check in stations as well as an ending celebration. While this is not a competition you could set up different difficulty level or length of routes which all end at the same place.
#4 Camp In: This is where you plan an event at the church with games (e.g. Board Games, Wii, Card Games, Simulation Games), activities (e.g. story telling, craft, devotionals, a service effort), and food (e.g. smoores over the stove, popcorn, fruits). You can plan it with a meal or starting after the dinner hour. Then have a late bedtime and specified and set up sleeping areas. People can bring sleeping bags, cots or just a blanket and pillow There is something unique about a church in the middle of the night and having a camp in brings the congregation together in a unique way.
#5 Camp Out on the Grounds: Most congregations have a fair amount of property which could be used for camping. Think about the comments that a host of tents and campers on your lawn/parking lot would stir. You would have the benefit of bathrooms and cooking facilities which would be close at hand. You would also need to check on city codes about what you could and couldn’t do. For instance, do you need to get a permit to have a camp fire on the grounds? While it might not be the quietest night of rest it would be a memorable one.
#6 Congregational Progressive Dessert: Recruit 3 or 4 members who will open their home for the congregation to drop by and have a dessert on a particular evening. You could recruit other members to provide specialty desserts for each house. You could have each house have a dessert theme (e.g. chocolate desserts, fruit desserts, desserts from around the world) and if you really wanted to put effort into it you could decorate each home around the theme. A nice touch would be to offer a 2-3 hour house cleaning for those homes you use (before or after) paid for by the church.
#7 River Party: When I was in Oklahoma one of our members had property on a river just north of town. It was a great place to have a beach party for the congregation complete with campfire cooking of hot dogs and hamburgers and lots of beach games.
#8 Care Showing Day: This would be a day when as a congregation you intentionally do things (separately or together) to serve others in your city or to show care to them. This could be passing out soft drinks and water at a park, taking people’s groceries to their car at the store (checking with the manager of the store first would be advisable), picking up trash along a street, washing car windshields at a service station or parking lot, checking and filling up air tire pressure, washing windows in a neighborhood, or some other activity. Having church t-shirts would give an added benefit to the event.
#9 Movie Night: Do more than just plug in a dvd and show a film…make this an event. Decorate the
venue and offer various types of ‘theater delights’. Be sure that you have the rights to show the movie (e.g. purchase a blanket license for many studios through cvli.com or mplc.com). You might even be able to do a series or a theme month.
May 9, 2012