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Surviving the Summer in Children's Ministry

As the summer season arrives, many children’s ministry workers find it challenging to stay motivated and focused on their roles due to various factors such as vacations, travel, hot weather, and the desire to simply enjoy the outdoors. Not to mention, kids are home, and dynamics change which affects the commitment level of some of your workers. Hey, it’s natural. However, maintaining a motivated workforce in the summer is crucial for ensuring productivity and achieving goals in your children’s ministry department. The reality is that even though some of your families may be going on break, the children’s ministry is not. REAL TALK…YOU STILL NEED YOUR WORKERS! That’s why in this week’s blog post, I want to share with you eight effective strategies to help motivate your children’s ministry volunteers during the summertime, enabling them to stay engaged and perform at their best.

1. Decorate the Environment:

Transforming the physical environment can significantly impact the overall mood in your children’s ministry department. Use colorful and vibrant summer-themed decorations to add a cheerful touch. Hang up beach balls, string lights, and posters featuring sunny destinations. The whole point is to create a visually stimulating environment that immediately puts your workers in a summer mindset.

2. Host Icebreaker Activities:

Kick off the summer season by organizing icebreaker activities that encourage team bonding and interaction. Plan team-building games or trivia sessions related to summer themes. These activities help break the ice, promote communication, and build stronger relationships among team members. Whatever the case, make sure it’s fun, and I repeat…do not turn this time into a glorified meeting unless you can count on people not showing up in the future.

3. Summer Dress Days:

Consider implementing casual or themed dress days during the summer months. Allow your workers to dress in relaxed and comfortable attire that aligns with the summer vibe. Theme days, such as Hawaiian shirt day or flip-flop Sundays, can add an element of fun and create a sense of unity among serve team members.

4. Plan Outdoor Lunches:

Take advantage of the pleasant weather by organizing outdoor lunches or picnics. Find a nearby park or set up a designated area on the church premises for workers to enjoy a nice meal outdoors. Encourage serve team members to socialize, relax, and recharge in the fresh air.

5. Organize Team Outings:

Summer is an ideal time for team outings and excursions. Arrange off-site activities like hiking, beach trips, or outdoor sports tournaments. These outings provide an opportunity for volunteers to unwind, build stronger connections with other volunteers they may not know, and experience a break from the regular routine of serving in the children’s ministry department.

6. Implement Summer Challenges:

Introduce friendly summer challenges or competitions within the department for your volunteers. These challenges can range from wellness-focused activities like step challenges or fitness goals to creative contests such as a summer-themed art competition or a recipe cook-off. These activities foster teamwork, creativity, and friendly competition while adding a dose of excitement in the summer months.

7. Provide Refreshments:

Keep your volunteers hydrated and refreshed during the hot summer days by providing cool beverages and healthy snacks. Consider setting up a refreshment station stocked with ice-cold water, infused water pitchers, fresh fruits, and refreshing treats. Small gestures like these demonstrate your care for their well-being and create a positive environment.

8. Implement Summer-themed Recognition:

Develop summer-themed recognition programs to appreciate and acknowledge outstanding volunteer performance. Create fun categories such as the "Sunshine Award" or “Surfer of the Month" and reward deserving volunteers with small prizes, certificates, or public recognition. Recognizing workers' efforts encourages motivation and fosters a positive volunteer culture.

Creating a fun environment during the summer is definitely an investment, but it is a worthy one. Doing it correctly will lift spirits and enhance the volunteer culture in your children’s ministry department throughout the summer, which will ultimately prove to be a win-win for the entire church.

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