No school. Longer days. Scorching heat. This can only mean one thing – Summer. For families, it is a time for vacations, cookouts, and road trips – good things. For families, it is also a time of bored children and interrupted schedules – bad things. The things that are good for the family during the summer are in turn bad for the church. As families travel, attendance decreases in scheduled worship times. As families spend more time together, less time is spent in church ministry. This poses a difficulty for churches. Does the church accept the fact that summer is going to be a time of little or no activity, or does it take advantage of the season? At Port Royal Baptist Church, we take advantage of the summer season. Summer is our most productive season of ministry because we place a high value on summer ministry. Here’s why.
- School is out. There is a natural tendency for families to scatter with preexisting schedules being set aside for three months. It is our desire to give families something meaningful they can do together.
- Historically, churches take one of two positions during the summer: scale down or shut down. It is our desire to shatter the expectation that the church will be less effective during the summer by offering meaningful service opportunities. Although summer is a time of declining attendance, it doesn’t have to be that way. Meaning summer ministry is our way of reversing the tide.
- The community is very active during the summer. People are moving about the beaches, farmer’s markets, and community festivals. It is our desire to be active alongside them. We believe in discovering where the community is meeting and joining them.
Two things are important in making summer ministry important at Port Royal Baptist Church.
- Summer Family Ministry Challenge. Instead of surrendering the summer, we challenge our families to serve together. Our theme for 2016 will be “The Summer 70” and will run from June 11th – August 20th. Over the course of 70 days, there will be 14 service opportunities in 7 different locations. These ministries are varied: daytime and evening, weekday, and weekend. These ministries involve different skills and abilities, demographics, and ministry approaches. We intentionally schedule opportunities that allows the entire family to participate.
- Summer Sermon Series. I do something as a pastor during the summer that goes against all conventional wisdom. I break the unwritten rule: do not start anything new during the summer. During the summer, I lead our church in a sermon series that lasts about 10 weeks. I do this because it serves a connection point for our people. I want them to feel as if they missed something by not being there. The feedback has been good.
You may ask, “Isn’t that a lot for people to feel they have to be involved in?” Good question. Our philosophy for missions and community outreach is simple. We don’t want you to be involved in everything. It’s not possible. We ask that each one find the ministry that meets their passion and then give their heart and energy to it.