Making Summer Sunday School Something Special!
By Rodney L. Pry, P.S.S.S.A. Executive Director
What happens in your Sunday school during the warm summer months? Does you attendance drop dramatically? Or, like many churches, do you just stop having Sunday school during June, July and August? But remember, God doesn’t take a vacation during the summer, so why should our Sunday schools?
But, in the light of all the increased competition during the summer, a few changes may need to be made to make your summer Sunday school program even better, more successful and more attractive. Here are a few ideas for you to consider:
Make your summer Sunday school more exciting and interesting for your children by re-using some of your old VBS materials. This may require a little effort to condense the lessons to the available time of your Sunday school, but churches that I know who have tried this say it has been very successful.
Another idea for putting a little excitement into your children’s summer Sunday school is to make it into a “Summer Kid’s Club” or “Summer Kid’s Bible Club.” Have a combined “club opening” with songs, games and activities, followed by age appropriate Bible lessons. You could even get “club” T-shirts, have “membership cards,” and use other “club related” ideas.
Get your older kids and youth involved in a puppet team or drama team. Practice and create a program that can be presented to the entire church at the end of the summer.
Give small attendance incentives to your members (of all ages) during the summer. Check out the P.S.S.S.A.’s “Sunday School Stuff Store” on our website (CLICK HERE) for great ideas for small gifts and awards that you might use.
Get your children and youth involved in creating a poster or T-shirt as a part of the Sunday School Association’s “Youth Poster & T-Shirt Contest.”
Hold one or more special short-term studies. Check out the many materials available for such a study at your Christian bookstore.
To give your adult class teachers a little break, combine your adult classes and have just one of the adult class teachers leading the study for the whole group. You might also invite persons from other churches to be guest teachers and even have special music as a part of your summer Sunday school.
Hold one or more special “focused Bible study groups” during the summer. What is a focused Bible study? It is a Bible study where half of the time is devoted to an activity of special interest to the persons involved and the other half of the time is involved in a Bible study. The special interest activities involved might include anything from cooking classes, parenting classes and computer skills classes to hobbies, creative arts and crafts and fun and games.
Also, encourage classes and your entire church or Sunday school to sponsor special summer fellowship and social activities. Summer is a great time to hold a picnic, swim party, kid’s carnival, hotdog roast or outdoor game day. You might even plan to hold your entire Sunday school outdoors some week.
And, when you are planning something special, be sure to let everyone know what you are doing. Run special articles about your Sunday school activities in your church newsletter, place announcements in your weekly bulletin, do a special mailing to those persons who are not now active in your Sunday school and use every other possible media – your church website, E-mail, Facebook, etc. - to get out your message about the importance of Sunday school.
Summer doesn’t have to be a time when your Sunday school attendance takes a dive! If you make you Sunday school program interesting, relevant and a little fun, the people will come and you will see some very exciting things happening as students of all ages learn more about God, the Bible and His will for their lives in Sunday school!