The days are getting longer, the temperatures are steadily getting warmer and I’m ready for summer! Even though I am long past my school days and getting summer vacations, I still get that sense of “break” as summer is about to begin. Instead of scaling back or just taking the summer off, we should be making plans–now! Here are ten ideas that give a fresh approach to ministry and fit a flexible summer schedule.
Where Do I Start?
For the summer, the most important thing to consider is how much time you should plan for realistically. Here’s a simple formula to jump-start your planning:
• Add the number of weeks between the end of school and when teachers return to school in the fall.
• Subtract the week of Vacation Bible School (or any other similar church-wide activities that might compete for church members’ time). Remember, you want to support other ministries, not compete.
• The remaining weeks equal the time you have for your summer scheduling options. You’ll probably discover six to seven weeks available for women’s ministry planning.
Once you have a time frame in mind, consider the following three areas as you plan women’s ministry activities:
• Bible study
1. Reach new groups of women.
Home-schooling moms, school teachers, and school support staff are three groups of women who especially enjoy having access to Bible study opportunities during the summer months. By making special efforts to reach out to this group with a study that fits their schedule, you’ll build bridges and help them feel valued.
2. Consider a drop-in approach.
For ladies who typically enjoy an in-depth study, try different approach. Crazy summer schedules often call for a more open and flexible study, so check out some lighter studies.
3. Try shorter formats.
If your women’s study groups typically commit to one study for an entire semester, check out four- and six-week study options at Bible Studies for Women .
4. Encourage home studies.
As another summer Bible study option, you might encourage women to lead a small group for their friends and neighbors in their homes. Home Bible studies are a great way to build seeker-sensitive relationships with others in the community, and God can use these home-based groups to help women plug into your local church.
5. Host "play days."
Backyard picnics, city parks, and backyard pools provide a sampling of inexpensive ways moms with young children can get-out-of-the-house and spend time with Christian friends.
6. Wrap up the summer or kick off the fall with a banquet.
By August, an organized gathering like a banquet with a focus of fun and laughter heralds the end of summer. It also provides a great opportunity to preview upcoming fall activities in your women’s ministry.
7. Organize a retreat or campout.
Consider a mother/daughter retreat or campout. You won’t have to compete with school activities, and mom gets to spend one-on-one time with her daughter and her own friends. An easy retreat is now available with Loving Well: Retreat in a Box by Beth Moore or When Wallflowers Dance by Angela Thomas. Both include everything you need to plan and conduct a retreat.
8. Welcome women to the community with a coffee.
According to the real estate industry, summer is the most popular time for families to relocate. It’s also a good time to offer a "newcomer coffee" for women new to the community.
9. Lend a helping hand in your church and/or community.
With the help of your ministry/missions committee or other leaders in your church, identify an individual in your church who has special needs around their house that they cannot tend to themselves. Painting, cleaning, yard work, or just an old-fashioned sing-along at the home of a shut-in would provide amazing ministry opportunities. Be sure to take digital pictures and share them to promote future work days.
10. Perform the ever-popular "random acts of kindness."
Brainstorm an outreach using "random acts of kindness," such as free car-washes, or distributing bottled water at parks can be. When possible, leave cards with a message of God’s love.
With a little creative planning, your women’s ministry can use the summer days to disciple, evangelize, and touch the world with Christ’s love.
What are you cooking up for summer? We’d love to hear what you have planned!