There was a small construction project at the church scheduled for the summer months and our long-time Vacation Bible School Director was stepping down more than a little burned out. I was serving on the Christian Education Committee and we wrestled with what to do about VBS for children’s ministry. I think it was less about the construction project (we could have worked around it) and more about the burned-out director and a little late in the year to find a new one. Should we cancel VBS this year? It certainly was an option but the LOGOS Leadership Team decided to take on the responsibility of offering something for our church over the summer—apart from Sunday worship.
We planned a series of five Wednesday evening gatherings and though our Bible study had a theme (Old Testament Stories) it was easy enough for people (of all ages!) to attend just the weeks when they were in town. Our original plan was for simple meals on the lawn but it was one of the hottest summers on record so we ate on blankets in our air-conditioned Fellowship Hall.
We followed the meal with lectio devina Bible study and a creative arts “response” for upper elementary through adults (randomly divided into groups). Younger children stayed together using the same story. Recreation was time on the church playground and socializing over sno-cones. We closed worshipfully with song and prayer—back inside and not around a campfire as originally planned. Signs were posted in the neighborhood to invite everyone for free snow cones with our hope that they would stick around for more...and possibly return the next week for the whole evening. A few did.
As much as I love traditional Vacation Bible School and can point to a particular summer when I was invited by a friend to attend her church’s program (a pivotal point in my faith journey), I really liked the intergenerational and laid-back approach that year—and the year after when we added a mission component.
Are you looking for alternative ways to bring the generations together this summer—and encourage people to invite friends and neighbors? How about…
- Movie nights on the lawn or in the parking lot
- All-church field trip to a local park or nature center
- Attend a Little League baseball game together
- Gather to play soccer before the sun goes down
- Hobby night (stations indoors or out where people can visit to learn whittling, stamping, zentangles, tire changing, kite-making, etc.)
- Board game nights
How might you incorporate a shared meal and some time of study and worship in your gathering to move deeper than fellowship?
Have you seen our LOGOS Summer Theme on Pinterest?
I’d love to hear about your experiences with summer ministry ideas!