8 Summer Staffing Solutions of Your Children’s Ministry

Children’s Ministry can be turned upside down during June, July, and August while families go away on vacations and fewer volunteers are available to serve. Every church differs depending on its size, mission, and priorities. The program designs your children’s ministry decides to follow in the summer often depend on these factors. We have provided a list of 8 summer staffing solutions that will hopefully solve the problem of finding enough help in the summertime!

Change Things Up in Children’s Ministry

1. Ask for a Different Set of Volunteers for the Summer

Many times, summer staffing issues are a result of overworked teachers. These volunteers have worked tirelessly over the school year and are ready for a much-needed break. This allows the chance for vacations, relaxation, renewal in their spiritual growth, and a chance to reenergize for the fall! When we ask our children’s ministry teachers and helpers to keep volunteering all year round, we might find that many burn out and decide to step down from their roles. Providing a break in the summer is just what the doctor ordered.  

For staffing solutions, we recommend that you reach out to your church family during May to find volunteers willing to teach or assist in the summertime. These volunteers will only be asked to help for the summer, allowing them to volunteer without a long-term commitment. This also gives people who don’t normally serve in Children’s Ministry, a chance to see what it’s like. Sometimes they will like it so much that they sign up to help in the fall. The best way to present this need to your congregation is to explain why it’s a blessing to the teachers who serve all school year, why it’s a service to the kids, and how it’s a fun way to help out just for the summer.  

2. Alternate Teachers to Serve One Sunday a Month During Summer Vacation Time

Summer is often a vacation time for many families, and this is one of the top reasons why it’s difficult to get enough volunteers to serve! A great way to tackle this challenge is by asking children’s ministry volunteers to give you the vacation times they plan to be away. Using this information, you can create a rotating summer staffing schedule where teachers can serve once or twice a month. With this system in place, volunteers can also have the flexibility to switch with one another if schedules change.  

3. Large Group Program Design in the Summertime

Typically, children’s ministries are divided by age groups. We recommend you switch things up for the summertime and combine the students in a mixed-age large group. Using a large auditorium or gym, you can provide a summer program that does large group teaching, games, activities, worship, videos/movies, and snacks. Instead of breaking up into small groups, do a large group discussion where kids can interact with the teacher and one another. 

This may not be ideal all year round, but it can solve the problem of needing as many teacher assistants for each classroom with their crafts, activities, and more to coordinate. Just keep in mind, even with your summer staffing it’s still important to be in ratio and have about one adult for every 24 kids. 

Another benefit of a large group program design is that you ONLY need one volunteer willing to teach on a Sunday. Volunteer helpers are much easier to get than teachers because they aren’t in charge of leading the program. Compared to a classroom design, you will only need 1 or 2 teachers on a Sunday versus 1 for each grade.  

4. Combine Children and Youth

Some churches may find combining their children and youth for the summer is an awesome staffing solution. Continue to create opportunities for your youth group to grow in their relationship with Jesus by providing mission trips, retreats, and events for them to attend. 

However, instead of having youth-aged Sunday worship in the summer, invite the youth to volunteer as a helper in the Children’s Ministry. This will free up youth leaders on Sunday mornings to have a break or help in the Children’s Ministry. This will also give the youth a chance to serve and learn how to use the gifts God has given them to lead kid’s worship, be a small group leader, help serve snacks, and more.  

For churches with two or more services, youth-aged kids can attend one service with their parents and serve during another. Combining the youth with the younger children offers them a chance to learn from teens. To be sure your youth volunteers are good role models, design a volunteer program training where they can learn how to serve, practice safety measures, and apply to become a volunteer. It’s important to get this message across:  It’s a privilege to serve! Teenagers will earn the right to help in the Children’s Ministry by being reliable and responsible.

When Sundays Have to Look a Little Different

5.  Family Services

Sometimes it is nearly impossible to get enough summer staffing and volunteers. One way to solve this problem is to make summertime a family service only. While this can be disappointing for parents and their children, it honors the volunteer's need for a break and allows them to refresh and begin anew in the fall. Giving family services in the summer can also show your church the need for more volunteers. Actions can speak louder than words. If your congregation sees the need for more volunteers for themselves, it allows them the opportunity to offer to volunteer in the future.  

Family services benefit children because they get the chance to worship with the church as a whole, their minds stretched while listening to adult teaching, and they also have the opportunity to witness how other people in the church worship, learn, grow, and serve one another.  When multi-generations come together, it requires patience and love, but many benefits come with it.

6.  Sermons with Demonstrations and Lesson Sheets for the Kids

If the church decides to do family services for the summer, they can take it one step further and create an environment conducive for kids. Children’s ministry leaders can partner with senior pastors and discuss how they can provide at least one demonstration, skit, or fun video that will engage the children in the service. It’s also helpful to ask the pastor for his sermon notes so that you can create fun lesson worksheets that go along with the sermon. These sheets can include a coloring page, a question-and-answer section, and a place for kids to take notes or draw. The pastor can even refer to the worksheet in his sermon to help engage the kids in the lesson and get them thinking about his teaching.  

There are many ways the church can create an environment for children and adults to coincide and learn together as a family during the summer. Attendance is statistically lower this time of year because many people go away. Because of this, families can spread out and be comfortable. Another great way to get kids involved during worship time is to provide streamers or ribbons for children to wave during the songs.  

7.  Vacation Bible School

Parents may be disappointed by the lack of a Sunday children’s ministry program. A solution to this is to offer a VBS. Volunteers might not be able to commit all summer long, but they may be able to commit to one week. A week-long vacation bible school hosted during the daytime or in the evening is a great way to give children Bible teaching, hands-on learning, and fun activities.  

8. Church Homeschool Summer Program

Another substitute for your regular Sunday morning children’s ministry service is a church homeschool summer program. This would require only a handful of volunteers willing to design a program for kids to do at home in the summertime. Much like homeschooling, each week could have a Bible story to read, a lesson, craft, game, memory verse, and fun on-the-go activities kids can do in the car, at the beach, or at the pool. Each week families can receive an email with a printout page for kids to use that week. It can allow parents to be involved but also provide a way for kids to do it independently. The great thing about a church homeschool summer program is that kids who are vacationing, and involved in extracurricular activities, summer camps, and sports will be able to learn about Jesus at home or as they travel.  

Empowering Your Children’s Ministry for Summer Success

Summer can challenge children's ministry leaders, but these 8 staffing solutions can help maintain a vibrant program. By implementing these strategies, churches can ensure continuous and engaging ministry activities, while providing much-needed breaks for regular volunteers, and creating opportunities for new members to serve.

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