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Hot Summer Outreach Ideas

Posted by Outreach, Inc. 4 years ago 0

Hot Summer Outreach IdeasFor many churches, summer is a time of rising temperatures and falling attendance.  While you can’t affect the heat, you can influence your church’s attendance with a couple of well-planned summer outreach ideas. 

These tips will help your outreach go further/farther: 

  • Make sure to promote the activities as truly outreach – members bringing unchurched visitors – not just for members only.  
  • Host 2 or 3 events to bridge the summer and keep visitors informed and hopefully attending. 
  • Follow-up after the event is vital, so make sure you get visitors’ names and contact information.  You’ll need to follow up several times: after all, it’s vacation time. 

Here’s a list of some of our favorite summer outreach events:

Go to your neighbors

Since many of your neighbors are already outside, take church to them with fun, outdoor activities.

  • Is your church near a lake, river or ocean where people congregate in the summer? Develop outreach ideas to minister to people in these areas. For example, take a cooler of bottled water with your private church label to the lake on a hot day and hand them out along with information on your church services and kids’ programs. You can create your private labels using your logo, a color printer, and oversized labels from an office supply store.
  • Take your church to a county fair, street fair or farmers market. Call your local fair organizers and reserve a booth. Turn your booth into anything that is appropriate for the skills of your church, such as a kids’ story time, cooking or crafts demonstrations, face-painting or any other interest-generating activity. Hang a sign with your church information and pass out brochures to those who stop by.
  • Summer is a great time for sponsoring or helping with civic activities. Partner with your local city resources and organize a Bike Rodeo (a bike obstacle course for kids) and Family Safety Day. Often the local police or public safety department will help set up a bicycle safety class for local kids, and your church can offer refreshments and prizes for the kids who participate.

Bring your neighbors to you

Your church can host many all-ages events that can draw the whole community together. Put up flyers in your local stores, send out direct mail postcards, hang a banner or have a team of volunteers go door-to-door with door hangers advertising these events:

  • Network with other churches and community groups and organize a community service day such as a beach trash pick-up day, food bank collection, blood drive or 5K for a local hospital, AIDS center or other cause.  Host a “thank-you” barbecue for volunteers afterward.
  • Fourth of July activities – celebrate the birth of our country with your community. Host a barbeque, chili cook off or other activity and then gather everyone together for the big fireworks show. Display your church banner at the park or beach, so that everyone can easily find you.
  • Or, at your community’s big fireworks display, sponsor a free “bounce house,” or soda and water station
  • Concerts/Guest Speakers – plan some special evening events with guest speakers or musical groups – or plan a summer series.

Kids’ Activities

Parents in your community are looking for activities for their kids that are healthy, fun and maybe even educational. Your church could be a source for these types of activities:

  • Summer carnivals – By the second week of summer break, kids are already bored.  Hold a summer carnival as a two-pronged “hook”: for the kids, it’s a kick-off to your VBS.  For their parents, it’s an avenue to hand out personal invitations announcing your summer sermon series.  Bring in a jump booth, some face painters, and some games, then invite your whole community.
  • Vacation Bible School – Look for fresh ways to provide this fun and educational distraction for kids in your area.  Do most parents work?  Then hold the VBS in the evenings; or hold it one day a month – say Fridays, and use the afternoon time to take kids to the beach, a local water park, the movies, etc.  Of course, kids pay for the optional afternoon events.  Is time at a premium?  Then host the VBS on 5 consecutive Saturday mornings.
  • Day Camps/Local Field Trips – Hosting a summer Day Camp program can help working parents with their childcare issues. Your church can become the safe and fun alternative to babysitters.
  • If day camps are too ambitious for the size of your church, you can host a Mom’s Day Out just two mornings a week.  Deliver door hangers that are a coupon for one free visit to your unchurched neighbors

Parents will be thrilled to have a chance to give their kids this type of fun, wholesome activity. Promote your summer kids’ programs with direct mail cards, door hangers or even just a colorful banner hung outside your building.

Use any of these kid-sized activities as a platform to reach their parents.  Schedule and then promote a special family finances or parenting seminar, geared to unchurched parents of kids attending your programs.  The key is to advertise your next event – be it a new sermon series, special seminar, family outing or kids’ event – at your current event, giving newcomers another reason to try you out, and giving you additional opportunities to bring them into your fellowship.

Summer doesn’t need to be a time of low attendance. With a little creativity and local promotion, your church can make summer the time for community building and outreach!

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