SUMMER IS A SEASON OF STRESS
As soon as the school is out, many parents are faced with grueling questions like: “Who will look after my kids?” “How do I go about making meals for kids?” “How can I give them a memorable summer without breaking the bank?” “What can I do to make sure they’re safe?” Summer season is an especially tricky and stressful time for single parents and children of divorce.
How could you extend care and support to these families and help them beat the summer stress?
- Offer exciting day trips for parents and children. Be mindful of expenses, make stipends available. Such group outings will provide a great way for parents and children to have shared experiences and build fun memories without the pressure of planning and figuring out many stressful details.
- Offer childcare. Single parents often work many hours per week and do not want to ask for help. They may even work a second or third job, or be attending a local college, too. Babysitting can be expensive. By providing occasional childcare, you will bless them with a much needed breathing room.
SUMMER IS A SEASON OF LONELINESS
Most children will tell you that the hardest part of the summer months is not getting to see their friends as often as they do in school. TV shows and video games are more than happy to fill in the space created by the lack of human interaction, but perhaps your church could offer something much more wholesome and memorable then all of the Youtube channels put together?
Any ideas what it might be?
- Host a day camp where kids can have fun, learn new skills and make new friends. Consider the following three directions for a day camp:
1. Sports Camp (baseball, soccer, flag football, dance, etc.)
2. Creative Camp (reading, writing, painting, acting, singing, playing an instrument, clay modelling, photography, journalism, sculpting, quilting, knitting, scrapbooking, stamping, gift-card making, etc.)
3. Life Skills Camp (cooking, sewing, housekeeping, woodworking, gardening, cake making, etc.)
Look at your church, and no doubt you will find built-in coaches, tutors and mentors who’ll be thrilled at the invitation to pass on their knowledge and skill set to the new generation.
- Equip the families in your church to host a one day backyard VBS. Family-driven VBS is easy to implement, it doesn’t involve a lot of expenses, it’s fun and it makes it possible for parents and children to be on the mission together. If you’re interested to learn about this model of ministry, click HERE.
- Host play dates in the park or on the church grounds. This is a great way to let moms with young children get some interaction with other adults while their children play together.
Take a moment to look at these four challenges. Better yet, gather your team and go over this list together.
Do these questions reflect experiences of the families in your church? How about your wider community? Is there a way your church could address some of these challenges in creative and practical ways?
Have you noticed that these challenges actually offer you a gift—numerous opportunities to put God’s love on display by serving the families in your community in a very meaningful way? Will you accept this gift or will you let another summer pass you by?
DON’T SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRE. DON’T EMBRACE THE EASY.
You may not be able to solve all summer-related challenges, but you can tackle some of them, and as a result, your children’s ministry will explode with new excitement. What could have been a period of stagnation will become a season of growth.
There is no universal plan of action that will work for every single church, but there is one thing that all of us can and should do—pray and ask for God’s input on the best use of this summer. God did not call you to be a copycat. He wants you to be an original. Just because a certain idea works for the church across the road, doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Give God a chance to guide. Give this summer your best shot. Give your community the best of you and watch what a difference it will make!
I would love to hear how your church beats the summer slump. Let me know in the comments.