By Emily Mullens
Planning a Serving Others Summer (SOS) can be a fun way to connect to the community, serve others, and bring the church family together. These are very simple ideas you can carry out quickly.
- Print water bottle labels with a Bible verse and your church information and pass out at a local parade or little league game.
- Serve a free hot dog lunch in the parking lot at high school registration.
- Offer a morning story hour for moms and toddlers having seniors do the reading to the children.
- Pass out free freeze pops with your church logo on them at the city park.
Don’t forget to make it fun! Have a group called iServe. Youth give their phone numbers and then you send all the details, date, time etc. of a community cleanup project by a text message. After they arrive and clean up that area, send the next message to where they go next. The last text is usually a pizza place to refuel all the teens! Don’t forget to put the information on your church website, too!
For a bigger project, plant a community garden and have church families or small groups sign up to take care of it. After tiling and preparing the soil, get a local garden shop to donate vegetable and herb plants. Donate harvested food to the local food pantry. Weigh the food before delivery to see just how many pounds can actually be raised and donated.
A truly life-changing project could be a “mini mission trip.” Organize a weekend where families meet at a local campground or at the church if you have space. On Friday evening, everyone brings their own camping equipment and works together to prepare dinner. Enjoy a bonfire together in community, devotion, and worship.
Then, Saturday morning, assign teams to prearranged work sites. Children can be entertained by youth who put on a VBS type program while adults are at projects. The VBS could be open to other campers if you are at a public site. Everyone returns for a lunch prepared by other church members, and then a quiet time is held before returning to work sites. Come back together at the end of the day and have a special evening. On Sunday morning, have a worship service where people get to share their experience. This service can be at the campsite or back at the church.
The possibilities are endless. Whatever need you see, a project can be developed for any age group. Ask the kids in your ministry what they think. They may have ideas of their own. Whatever project you select, both the giver and the receiver will learn and grow in their love of Jesus.
Emily Mullen contributes to Ministry-To-Children.com, a resource started by Tony Kummer to solve children’s ministry problems.