I'm a big fan of programming. And I've had the opportunity to work in two churches where programming is done big and it's done well!
But this summer, at Trinity, we decided to simplify things a bit. Two of the things we're doing are as simple as can be but have been BIG hits!
Here they are. Use them if you want to!
The first thing we're doing is a Sunday night hang out we're calling F3 (food, fellowship, and fun). We've talked with a few families in our church that have pools. Each Sunday night, everyone comes over and we eat, swim, and hang out! The host home provides the main course (burgers, hot dogs, pizza, etc.) and we reimburse them for it. The students bring wither a 2 liter soda (if their last name starts with A-H), a bag of chips (I-Q), or a dessert (R-Z).
It's the type of program that I would normally expect (and be fine with) small numbers in attendance. But we've had TWICE what I expected at each one. And more than that at the last one this past Sunday! And it's been super fun to be able to sit down, relax, have a chili dog, and talk with our students without having to worry about times or service elements or transportation.
Is this possible to pull off in a large church setting? Probably not. But if you've got a large group, you've probably got your own facility (or at least one you use). Bring the students there and break out the games or a movie!
Secondly, (and we don't do this one too often) this week we're meeting up for lunch with our students. Each day of the week, we've selected (and publicized) a different restaurant to meet at (all in the Chick-Fil-A price range). My boss and I show up from 11:30am-1pm and students are free to drop in and eat and hang anytime in that window. Once again, super simple. But super fun!
Our goal for both of these things was HIGH relational value and LOW cost.
Question: How are you encouraging relational growth this summer in your ministry?