It may be February but we’re on the downhill slide straight into summer.  For many of us, summer in ministry is far from a vacation—although it does require planning and it can be a lot of fun.  We spent some time as a team thinking through the issues confronting leaders like you during the hottest months of the year.  Many of us have been there and know what’s it like!  So we wanted to see what we could do to help.  Here’s some of the different options we’d suggest to help you stay cool, calm and collected this June and July:
ISSUE #1—Kids come in and out even more during summer vacation, so I’d like something more thematic that carries through the whole 9 weeks, without having to change a lot about our format.
We suggest sticking with the normal curriculum because we know what’s coming!  We’d like to give you a little sneak peek behind the scenes of what we’re cooking up.  We call our upcoming summer series– EPIC: An adventure in love and trust and how it changed the world.  We’ll start with Jesus calling the disciples and follow that thread all the way to them living out His mission even after He left.  Then we’ll talk about how this applies to us today.  How loving God and loving others helps us live a better story AND then we get to be part of something much bigger than ourselves.  What could be cooler?  The large group segments will be over-the-top engaging and bigger than life to keep the energy high and kids wanting to come back.
ISSUE #2—Many of my leaders take off during the summer, so it’s hard to have consistent faces in large and small group.  We need a more flexible plug and play option to keep a wide range of kids learning with fewer volunteers to help out.
We suggest buying Feature Presentation for both months this summer (there are 2 different movies, plus host intros and outros, each week) and even the quarterly Get Reel so that you have lots of media segments to customize each service while sticking to the one EPIC theme.  You can pair this with the Compact version of the regular curriculum for a big win.  We spell out easy modifications for small group activities that are easy for a volunteer to adjust on the fly, no matter if they have a younger or older group or mixed.  You could also set up each of these small group activities as stations in one large area and have smaller groups of kids rotate through them to keep everyone in the same room, needing less volunteers.
ISSUE #3—Honestly, we just need a change for a few months.  We’d like it to feel more like “camp” instead of our normal church format so we can switch gears.
We suggest checking out one of our popular Summer Experiences—everything you need in one handy box.  There are different ones to choose from like Chase the Light, Jump and Zapped. Videos and music are included as well as various station ideas including crafts and snacks.  You could plan to use a different lesson each week instead of each day like you would at Camp or if you were using this as VBS materials.  This will help your Sundays to feel different for 2 months, but keep the Orange philosophy and 252 Basics language and values going strong.
Are there any summer planning issues that you think we missed?  What’s the best thing you’ve tried to help your summer vacation weeks go swimmingly?  We’d love to hear from you and hope you’re getting excited about what the summer could do for you and your ministry.