It’s no secret: In most places, churches slow down for the summer. Between travel and groups taking a break, coordinating schedules because of vacation, mission and conference travel becomes next to impossible.
How can you continue to be engaged with your church and community? Here are some ideas:
• Offer family kindness bags containing items for random acts of kindness.
• Share pictures of events from VBS, camps and maintenance projects on social media.
• Utilize Facebook Live to share video. Find easy set up and tips suggestions at tinyurl.com/MAF1-July2018.
• Give updates from individuals and groups doing summer missions, online or via video during worship.
• Post sermons transcripts or audio and video streaming. Buzzsprout.com provides inexpensive hosting options.
• Make family prayer bags available with vacation devotions and prayer needs symbols.
• Put up a map with pins representing places members have been during the summer.
• Let people take your church logo with them and post pictures of from where they visit.
• Pin up church bulletins that people bring back from trips.
• Promote summer month book clubs with short, challenging titles, and then gather to discuss ideas each month.
• Have a reading club with age-appropriate goals and titles. (You can even make the books of the Bible be your reading list.)
• Poll people about serious or silly topics and share results. Poll-maker.com and Typeform are two examples of free ways to construct and share these.
• Share contests such as scavenger hunts or trivia questions. One suggestion is to send a picture of a free gift with a picture and hint where it can be found.
• Publicize “out in the community” events: service in the park or ballpark, rented pool, cookout or watermelon and worship.
• Schedule a community service time or weekly time for a project, student lunches or delivering meals.
• Hold an Adult VBS.
• Encourage reports on a theme: “What I’m doing this summer” or “Top this vacation story!”
• Use summer references from the Bible in publicity.
• Call members you haven’t seen in a while and just say “Howdy.”
• Schedule community clean up times.
• Use email and texts to send out reminders, prayer needs (with permission), the week ahead, or news from the previous week.
• Promote a list of summer reading titles locally.
• Encourage members to attend elsewhere as they travel, and help them find a church if needed.
• Have Shareback Sundays, with archived messages or online summer series.
• Consider a calling service or phone tree for those not “wired.”
• Promote spontaneous lunches through social media; pay for a meal or a soda.
• Promote Bible apps such as bible.com and bible.com/kids, or Christian meditation like Abide.is.
• Let the professionals in your church offer their talents, free, to the needy in your community.
• Offer notes and cards and phone numbers to contact those away during the summer.
Ken Satterfield is a former media specialist and Word&Way’s marketing coordinator.
Keep Your Congregation Connected During the Summer (United Methoodist Communications)