Outreach Ideas for Summer

Summertime Church Outreach Ideas to Beat the Summer Slump

Looking for summertime church outreach ideas to keep people involved in your church through the usual vacation slump? It can be challenging to put together long-term campaigns when so many families are busy or traveling. We’ve pulled together some great ideas — many of them one-day events — that your church can use to keep folks connected during the summer months. Adapt them to fit your needs or simply use these as idea starters.

Idea #1: Take advantage of annual holidays

There are five U.S. holidays between May and September:

May 10 – Mother’s Day

May 25 – Memorial Day

June 21 – Father’s Day

July 4 – Independence Day

September 7 – Labor Day

Most families are spending time together during the summer holidays, so invite them to make church part of their family celebrations. And you can add a special touch to those celebrations by hosting an ice cream festival, cookouts, fairs, and family game days.

Benefits to your church:

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are great summertime church outreach opportunities. Ask mom or dad to invite their kids and family members to come to a special service. (It’s hard to say no to mom on Mother’s Day, which is probably why it’s the third most-attended event of the year!) Memorial Day and July 4th can become opportunities to reach out to military families. Also, your church may be able to partner in community-wide Memorial Day remembrances, such as offering to lead prayer services, handing out flags or prayer cards, volunteering and more.

Idea #2: Baptisms and BBQ

Got church attendees who’ve been thinking about baptism? Turn summer baptisms into a full-on celebration! Head down to the river or local backyard pool (if that is your church’s baptism style) for an outdoor baptism service, then break out the barbecue and host a church picnic. If your church has held baptisms throughout the year, host a party that celebrates every member, regardless of when they were baptized.

Benefits to your church:

An outdoor service gives you a great reason to invite lapsed church members to join the party. Send an invitation to folks who haven’t been to church in a while and tell them about this special event. Always encourage baptism participants to invite friends and family to the event. An outdoor service is a more casual environment and people may feel free to come and enjoy the uniqueness of the event, as well as some good, home-cooked food!

Ideas in Action: Simple Church in Grafton, Massachusetts, believes in passing the plate. The dinner plate, that is. The weekly service consists of a meal, a message, and communion. Sure, it’s a different approach to traditional summertime church outreach. But, it’s making people reconsider church attendance in secular New England.

Idea #3: Church Movie Nights

A church movie night can open the door to neighbors who might not otherwise come to church. Plus, it lets everyone enjoy a fun film with family and friends. Provide popcorn and soda, or let your youth group host a bake sale for movie-goers. Host a movie night as a special, one-time event, or host a summer movie series to give families an affordable event they look forward to attending.

Benefits to your church:

Movie nights are a relaxed, casual introduction to church. Your congregation may be more comfortable inviting someone to a movie than a regular event. Also, hosting a community-wide movie night tells the neighborhood that they are always welcome in your church.

Ideas in Action: Faith Tabernacle Assembly of God hosted a showing of God’s Not Dead. Not only did attendance exceed their expectations — 500 people came to watch — but as a result, 30 people committed their lives to Christ!

Idea #4: Vacation Bible School/Day Camps.

The three worst words a mother can ever hear are: “Mom … I’m BORED!” Give mom a break by hosting a week-long vacation bible school or a summer day camp. Not only will kids get out and meet new friends, they’ll also hear God’s word presented by caring workers and coaches. As a result, mom will feel pretty great about your church, too. 

Benefits to your church:

Invite parents to come see their kids perform a song or get an award at the end of the week. While they’re at your church, invite the whole family back for a Sunday service. A week-long event gives mom a break and lets her know that you’re interested helping her entire family!

Idea #5: Summer Missions Trips/Service Projects

Missions trips can be some of the most challenging events to pull off. But, the impact is eternal. Consider partnering with a sister church or an established ministry to save trip costs and share logistics. Looking for something closer to home? Your community is a great place to start. Volunteer at a local food bank or other charity. Or, contact your city leaders and ask if there are small projects your missions team can handle, like fixing up an older school building or turning an empty lot into a community garden. Invite your neighbors to join in on the project. Be the hands and feet of the Gospel this summer!

Benefits to your church:

This is an opportunity to bring the church to people who need it most, right where they live! Also, you get to show them what Jesus looks like and the difference He makes in people’s lives. Remember, missions trips and service projects also teach your congregation what it means to reach out to others. Because of your events and activities people will begin to understand what it means to have an outreach-oriented heart.

Ideas in Action: Over 2,000 schoolchildren qualify for free lunches during the school year…but during summer, needy families struggle. Nativity Lutheran in Bethlehem, Georgia  and other area churches stepped in to meet the need, making and providing free lunches for all 2,000 kids.

Next Steps

Remember, summertime church outreach events are just the first step to reaching your community. As you plan the details of each event, take time to also plan a follow up strategy. Follow-up is key to building relationships.

  1. Ask guests to fill out a connection card so you can capture names and addresses.
  2. Send a handwritten thank-you note to let them know how much you appreciated their decision to spend time with you and your church.
  3. Invite them to visit again.

Finally, authentic communication is pro-active and relationships take time to build. Design a series of connections to let visitors know you care about them. This season is a great time to plan new summertime church outreach ideas and activities. Make the most of these opportunities and don’t forget to have some fun!