Summer for the church, especially in the South, is a great time for many reasons. The days are longer, allowing more outside activities. Seniors who cannot drive after dark can also get out for evening services/activities and be home before dark. Kids are out of school, allowing them to participate. And, the parents can as well without the pressure of having to get the kids ready for school the next day.
It is ironic that many churches do not take advantage of summer. In fact, some churches even take a vacation. Yes, attendance may be down because of families being on vacation and traveling, but the families who are there should not be punished because some are away. No matter who is there or not there, Jesus is always in the house as the saying goes.
Some churches are reluctant to schedule much in the summer, because they feel like the pastors/staff feel obligated to be there for everything. Summer is a great time for pastors to take vacation, especially if they have school age kids. They need vacation, and they should take it. Church, assure your pastors that you will take care everything while they are away. Pastors, don’t feel guilty while you are away. Demonstrate trust in your congregation that they will handle everything.
Some of the best worship services I have ever been a part of in my life were summer Sunday night services. The singing was more enthusiastic, the sermons were more evangelistic or in depth depending on the situation, and most summer Sunday nights we had fellowships afterward with good eats. Now many churches cancel Sunday night services in the summer. In fact, some have canceled them period. What a missed opportunity! If you want to cancel some Sunday night services, do so in the winter when it is difficult for folk to get out, but not in the prime time of summer.
July 4 is a part of summer in churches in the South as we celebrate our nation’s birth and God’s blessings on us. Some have picnics, indoor or outdoor, band concerts or choir programs to celebrate.
And of course summer is the time for Vacation Bible School. It is the church’s greatest outreach opportunity of the summer. In fact, it is the greatest outreach opportunity period. If done right, it pays dividends long after the summer. VBS is not the time for the church to be on vacation and coast. It means all hands on deck. It doesn’t mean going for the easy button. It is maximum effort. It is a church wide effort, not just for those who work with kids during the regular church year.
If means pulling out all the stops. It is not time for pinching pennies. It means leaving no stone unturned in reaching out to kids and families that do not attend church. No half-hearted effort in outreach is acceptable. Your church’s VBS may be the only opportunity standing between countless kids, who have reached the age of accountability, and their families and a Christless eternity.
VBS is not only a great outreach/evangelism opportunity, but is also a great opportunity for church kids to learn the Bible. It is Bible school during vacation time. Thus its name. While all the time is not spent in actual Bible learning, much of it is. So that is five days of VBS at three hours a day. What an opportunity, church.
Proverbs 10:5 is a great verse for summer ministry opportunity, especially VBS. “He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a disgraceful son.” If you gotta sleep, don’t let it be in harvest time. Do it some other season.
Chip Warren is the past president of the Albertville Ministerial Fellowship.