Nobody loves summer like the Magruder clan! My kiddos cherish the freedom of unscheduled days, the silence of the alarm clock, and playing outside with the fireflies. My husband and I love grilling burgers, serving up guilt-free ice cream (those calories don’t count in the summer, right?), and piling up on the couch for family movie nights. We all love it—until we don’t. All good things must come to an end, so they say, and that includes summer. At some point, we crave the structure, routine, and a regular bedtime; so, in God’s perfect timing—summer usually comes to an end at just the right time. With the inevitability of the first day of school comes the desire to re-engage in church. Vacations are over, grandma has gone home, and families are ready to find a normal rhythm of church attendance once again. For us as ministry leaders, we would be wise to harness this energy and be ready to re-engage families in this fresh “new year” season. Here are three easy ways to do just that:
- Host a party: If you know me, you know I love a good reason to have a party. Promotion Sunday or back-to school time is an awesome reason to celebrate! Cater some BBQ or pick up some giant subs to slice-up and invite everyone to stay after church. As you welcome parents and caregivers, be sure to tell them how excited you are to serve them in the coming year and assure them that your ministry is there to partner with them and pray for them during their new school year.
- Invite parents to serve: You may already have your slots filled for teaching, but you can always use substitutes and other jobs that are quick ways to make “the ask” during this new season of energy!! This could be the perfect time to identify new people who have never served in your ministry before. Don’t be afraid to make the one-on-one ask (hint: you could ask at the party—dessert table chatter!)
- Provide a fresh resource: You might consider giving a new family devotional or a special devotional for boys or girls. It may not be January 1, but the start of school is similar to New Years. Families may be more willing to try some intentional time together at home—perhaps for the first time!
Here’s to fresh pencils, brand new boxes of crayons, a first day of school outfit and photo—and to a brand new start at church. Our team is praying for you as you seek to engage families in your ministry for the gospel!
Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Lifeway Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.