It is hard to believe that summer is over. My son went back to school on August 8th this year! I don’t ever remember starting that early. Nevertheless, the summer is over for many and close for the rest.
Summertime is typically a jam packed time for most churches. Mission trips, youth retreats, VBS, and other special events keep youth pastors and children’s pastors hopping along with many other volunteers and staff members. So many memories are made in the summers. I can remember VBS as a child, as well as youth retreats and mission opportunities. I’m sure you can too.
These memories don’t ‘just happen’. They are the result of a great deal of time, energy, planning, and resources being spent to offer spiritual growth opportunities for the people of the church and outside the church as well. Summer oftentimes comes to a screeching halt as we immediately move into fall mode and getting things ramped up again. This is a critical mistake and it is almost always unintentional.
I would recommend that your church designate a “Summer Celebration Sunday” in early September. I prefer the first couple of Sundays after Labor Day. Everyone is back in school and the dust has settled on that chaos. Many consider the Labor Day weekend as the official end of summer and we all shift gears in our minds toward the fall.
A summer celebration should include the following:
- Highlights of all the summer activities. All of the mission trips, retreats, service opportunities, kids’ activities, concerts, movies on the lawn, pool parties, etc. No activity is too small to celebrate.
- Video is the preferred medium to highlight these activities. Photos are a must. Written testimonials are awesome. Interviews of staff, volunteers, and participants will take the celebration to another level.
- If you have video capabilities in your worship space, video the Sunday morning celebration so you can send it out on the following Monday or Tuesday via email.
- Give the congregation numbers. Numbers have a story to tell. How many volunteers? How many participants? How many conversions to Christ?
- Be sure you bring all of the volunteers on stage to celebrate them and their generosity.
- Be sure you bring all of the staff members on stage; celebrate them and connect the dots of the congregation’s giving to the church’s ability to pay staff members to serve the church and the Kingdom.
- Send the follow up email on Monday or Tuesday after the Sunday Celebration to ensure that everyone in the church has the opportunity to celebrate. Remember, most churches only see 60-70% of their active people on any given Sunday.
We are all guilty of moving on from one event to another. The church calendar can be very demanding. We have to take time to pause and celebrate God’s goodness to us and the impact He is having on our church and the impact our church is having on others.
Remember; you cultivate what you celebrate.