I served a congregation once that disappeared every May – August. The church cut back the services, programming, and expectations. The halls became deserted and the suggestion of not ‘taking the summer off’ was met with shock. Summer was ‘non-church’ time. Is your congregation like that?
Instead of hanging a ‘gone fishing’ sign on the doors I encourage you to see these few months as a very special opportunity. This is a time when spectacular things can be done. So what are things you might do?
Do Games Experiences: Obviously risk management is a big need in thinking about what kind of games to do and how to carry them off. Also is the need to recruit and train the proper number of volunteers for the experience. There are all sorts of things you can offer ranging from having a:
*board game party (e.g. chess party, checkers-maybe even life sized chess,
*big activity experience (e.g. paint ball, ropes course),
*video game night (retro like pac man/woman, galactica, or contemporary),
*music games (e.g. guitar hero),
*yard games (e.g. horseshoes, volleyball, softball, capture the flag),
*water games-in or out of a pool/lake (e.g. water balloons, slip n slide, water
Do Food Experiences: Summer comes with a host of special foods. We can build some wonderful activities around these foods.
*It might be a watermelon and fruit fest; maybe even with a carving artist doing
artwork with the fruits or a class in teaching us how to design with fruits.
*It could be a hot dog event,
*It could be a hamburger feast,
*It could be a ‘ground hog’ breakfast which is a sausage, pancake and more meal,
*It could be a ice cream celebration (homemade or store bought)
*It could be a dessert sharing.
Do a Movie Experience: If you are going to do this be sure to obtain the proper licensing from CVLI: http://cvli.com/about/pricing/, MPLC: http://www.mplc.org/, Swank:
http://religious.swankmp.com/faq, or another provider. Also do it well, which means to provide an excellent sound system, creating an ‘environment’ or ‘venue’ (e.g. posters, seating, dark enough room), perhaps offer popcorn or specialty and snacks, *Do a series focused on a particular age group (e.g. classics for retired folks,
hit children’s shows for those under 12),
*Do a series focused on those who like a particular genre like mystery nights,
musicals, romantic comedies, documentaries,
*Do a series that taps into popular series on TV: show films on the characters in Once Upon A Time (Hook, Peter Pan, Snow White, Pinocchio, Frozen, etc.).
Do Mission Experiences: Use the free time of school kids and others as well as the summer weather to create local as well as distant experiences.
*Do special local activities to support agencies like food kitchens, food banks,
Habitat for Humanity home building, or…
*Do your own special mission like clean up areas, do yard work for the elderly,
host special events
for the elderly, provide children activities for parents who work, or …
*Do a mission trips, whether self-designed (we have created a number of these which
we used with adults and youth) or through a provider.
Do a Musical Experience: This is a time of year when many artists have a break from their regular schedule. Perhaps they would volunteer or could be hired to provide some great experiences.
*Think about hosting group classes to teach guitar, piano, etc,
*Think about doing a musical.
These experiences can be in house experiences or they can be events aimed at reaching out to the community with something fun and positive. Whatever you do be sure to do it with quality, with attention to the problems that might arise, and also to solutions to those issues if they should arise.
In that church I once served we slowly changed the culture until summers were seen as a time of unique and precious experiences put on through the church. Certainly we had people ‘going’ place but for those who were around we had great things for them to experience. What will you offer this summer?