Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summer Outreach! Family Events . . . and More!

I've been talking about Summer outreach and looked at re-focusing ministries you are already doing such as Sunday School and Mid-week Ministry, so they have vision, passion, a plan and are effective at reaching out to the families in your church and community. Today I'm going to talk about planning family events as special Summer outreach opportunities to the families in your church and community. 

I'm not going to talk about children's ministry vs. family ministry because I was invited to write a guest post for Ministry-to-Children and I do so in there; (Feel free to check my post out by following this link) other than to say, we need to "come alongside" parents as they teach their children by being intentional in our ministries and building on and reinforcing what the parents are teaching their children. This is where a vision statement comes in. What is it we want to accomplish in our children’s ministries? What is our plan to get there? When we join up with the parents by equipping and coming alongside them, we will experience real and measurable results.

I believe an intentional children's ministry should plan a family event at least once a quarter. While we need to be sensitive to not "over-program" and pulling families in too many different directions, a family event gives us the opportunity to minister to both the children and the parents in our church and community at the same time. This can be a very good thing.
  • Family events can vary from the simple . . . such as planning family game nights or picnics in the park . . . to events which take more preparation, such as my "Bible Journey Events". (Again, see my guest post on Ministry-to-Children - you can download my Resurrection Sunday Bible Journey Event for free!) The goal behind my "Bible Journey Events" is to provide an opportunity for parents and children to work together to prepare, present and participate together in an event for families in the church and community. This allows them to experience God’s Word together. Not only will families experience God’s Word together, but they will also be able to serve Him together by helping with the event and by participating in a service project to help families in their community. 
  • Family events can provide excellent opportunities to reach out to families in your church and community and bring them together so they can experience and learn God's Word together - this can generate great enthusiasm for families both in and out of your church! The key word for family events is "together"! Children's ministry tends to provide opportunities for children - just as adult ministries tend to do the same for adults. Family events allow you to minister to parents and children together!
So what additional things might you do for a special family outreach? Try teaming up with other churches in your community to bring in someone special to sing or perform for families - such as Kidz Blitz, Gospel Magicians, Christian comedians or singers. Talk with people you know in children's ministry and see who they recommend. You could also team up with area churches to put on your own family event - for example, plan your own summer Family Amazing Race or Minute-to-Win-It with crazy games and more! Families may represent their churches and compete for awards or simply for the fun of it all! Follow up with a speaker - and food - for an event which not only engages families in having fun together, but also gives them an opportunity to learn of Jesus' love, Grace and forgiveness!

If we are serious about reaching out to the families in our churches and communities, we need to know our vision, passion and plan and then find those opportunities which allow us to truly reach out to the families God has given to us!

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