Memorial Day is just around the corner signaling the unofficial start of Summer. And while typically attendance in your church will decline as children leave school and families hit the road for vacations, the warmer months are a great time to plan more community-minded events that will attract and serve people outside your walls. Here are fourteen ideas to get you started
Get involved in local municipal events
It seems like most towns and counties have established events like Fourth of July parades, summer festivals or county fairs so there is no need for your church to reinvent the wheel – just join in. Build a float for the parade, set up free water or lemonade stands at the festival, offer free bibles and prayer at the fair. Whatever you do, be sure to have invitation cards available to give people so they can visit your church on Sunday too!
Host a movie night
Plan a movie night outdoors or in your building and invite families around the building to come. Offer free popcorn, candy and sodas – and maybe offer childcare for babies and toddlers. Pick a fun family movie and brainstorm creative ways to tie in the theme. Just remember that you DO need a public performance site license – no matter how small your crowd – license a movie here.
Community service day
Pick a Saturday or two and make your church the hub for serving the neighborhoods around your building. Some ideas to consider and promote are: Blood drive, canned food drive, free medical screenings for the elderly or low income families, cleaning up a school, park or vacant lot, building a new playground. Talk to your local city planning department or school district to get ideas. Inspire your congregation to get involved with a special series on serving.
Be the “Coolest” Place Around
Convert your church into an indoor lounge complete with Wi-Fi, a play area and an ice cooler stocked with bottled water. Open it up to the community and contact local mothers’ playgroups or local senior centers to let them know they’re welcome. Make sure you have information on your children’s programs, weekend services and other ministries so people can pick them up and learn more about your church.
Keep Teens busy
Teens may have aged out of VBS, but providing a fun, outdoor activity will help them stay involved at church and out of trouble. Plan several outings like hikes, photo scavenger hunts or bike rides. Share photos on Instagram and other social media outlets to boost online engagement.
BONUS TIP – Speaking of social media – be sure you post online about ALL your summer activities and supplement your posts with daily graphics that keep your church at the top of people’s feeds.
Hold outdoor services
There is just something festive about being outside when the weather is nice so consider holding Sunday morning or Wednesday night services outdoors. Make it special by providing refreshments or setting up the grill and asking people to bring side dishes to make it a picnic party before or after services. Send a postcard invitation to the homes around your church to invite people to join in.
Offer Cold Drinks to Commuters
If you live in a busy urban area, set up a table outside the transit center or on a busy street corner and hand out free, ice-cold soft drinks and bottled water to passers-by. Order personalized water bottle labels with your church’s name and information.
Organize Community Sports Events
If you have a gym or access to a local school’s fields, organize Basketball or Softball games on Friday evenings. Start each gathering with prayer and end the summer with a pizza party.
Plan Community Concerts
Invite local musicians and bands, and mix up the genre each week. Provide complimentary refreshments for attendees. Ask different pastors to Host each week and issue an invitation to Sunday services. Have prayer teams ready to provide prayer for those who are struggling.
Parking lot or neighborhood block parties
Organize a parking-lot party a couple times during the summer—complete with food, petting zoos, moon bounces, games, crafts and more. Or take the party out into the neighborhoods around your church to meet and get to know families better. Have your youth group help out.
Offer a shuttle service to the library, local park or swimming pool
Put your church bus or van to work helping your neighbors get around town – pick a day or two each week and help families keep little ones busy or help the elderly cool off.
Teach people how to fish
Ask the outdoorsmen in your church to spend a day teaching people of all ages the basics of fishing including information on local fishing license requirements. Then plan a day trip out to the closest river or lack to put the skills to work.
Send teams of volunteers to mow lawns for their neighbors who have limited mobility, such as the elderly or veterans who may have trouble with summer yard work.
Host a Classic Car or Motorcycle show for Father’s day
Attract more men and their families to church for Father’s day by hosting a car and motorcycle show at your church. One church we know, even had a motorcycle ride on and off stage to promote their event during service….
So what Summer events are you planning? Share your ideas or past successes with us on our Facebook page.