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Summer, Volunteers, and My Story

I must admit that I am a summer kind of girl. Hot weather, sandy beaches, lakes, bike rides, and popsicles all bring a smile to my face.  As a mom, I try to intentionally slow down our family pace in the summer and just enjoy life.  However, as a children’s pastor, for several years, I found myself dreading the approaching season. Summer was anything but peaceful as I filled in for absent volunteers almost every service.  It became obvious to me that I needed to develop a summer plan.

First, I took an honest look at our summer program.  Sunday mornings did not seem to be an issue.  Our Sunday school teachers were committed to continuing their ministry, and I loved my role as the large group leader in children’s church.   Our problem seemed to be during mid-week service.  It was difficult to use our regular curriculum with any consistency because the children and volunteers seemed to change each week.  For the summer, we made the decision to change our mid-week focus to Bible memory and relationship building.

Several weeks before summer, I began to recruit volunteers for our summer program.  I focused on individuals who did not normally teach during the school year but had a special gift they could share with the children (craft making, games, science knowledge, etc.)  Each of these individuals agreed to lead the children in a special night of relationship building through a unique activity.  They planned water games, scavenger hunts, science experiments, crafts, and other special events.  We prepared a guide for families at the beginning of the summer, so they knew exactly what was going to happen each week.

The children loved the events that the new volunteers planned each week, but my favorite component of the summer was our focus on Bible memory.  Children were given a list of scriptures to memorize during the summer.  Prior to the beginning of each week’s activity, the children would say their verse to a volunteer.  At the end of the summer, those who had learned their Scriptures attended a special celebration. I loved watching the children come running to me each week to say their Scriptures.  I know without a doubt that God’s Word will be forever imprinted on their hearts, and their lives will be changed because of it.

I sat down with a small group of children at church just a few weeks ago and asked them to help me plan.  The excitement on their faces was contagious as we talked about summer at church.  They don’t want to miss even one week.

And so, I am busy planning summer ministry again.  What are your plans?  Consider these questions:

  1. Will your current ministry model work during in the summer?
  2. Do some of your regular children’s ministry volunteers need a break?
  3. Are there individuals in your congregation who are normally not a part of children’s ministry that would be willing to serve during the summer?

Pray and ask God to guide you, your volunteers, and your kids this summer. Then click on our April newsletter, Making the Most of Summer Ministry, for some awesome ideas!

Contributing Author:  Melissa Minter

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