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Summer Ministry Planning

Summer often brings with it a change to structure, a break from the routines that come with the rest of the year. Needs from the agency continue to come, but churches may enter a change in pace in their calendar year. They may settle into a slower rhythm as their volunteer leaders take a break to refresh and reset for the next ministry season. Families head off for vacation. Key people you would normally call on may not be as accessible.

With the excitement of National Foster Care Month in May, how do you tackle summer while still trying to capitalize on the momentum you’ve gained?

Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for the summer.

Be proactive in scheduling meetings with your key contacts.

If you don’t already have a pre-established meeting rotation with your church and agency leaders, reach out to get something on the calendar so that you can get a pulse on what summer might look like for them. Does the feel of your agency or church change at all in the summer months? Seek to better understand the context so that you can anticipate and establish what you might expect of one another in the relationship. If needs surrounding back-to-school exist or any early Fall events are on the horizon, plan out timelines with your church and agency now so that you can create the best experience for everyone involved.

Plug into what’s already happening in your church. 

If it’s not something already on your agency’s or church’s calendar, summer might not be the best time to create a new project. Each agency and church has its own rhythms, so if a new event hasn’t been discussed and promoted before May, maybe consider it for the following year when you can plan ahead. Summer is, however, a great time to connect with what is already happening in your community and with your church. Regular ministry rhythms may be paused, but does your church do a special summer project, such as a Father’s Day event or a summer BBQ? Consider how you might work with your church to extent an invitation to your foster care community to be apart of it. Reach out to those overseeing the event. If your church is doing a Father’s Day BBQ, ask if you could invite foster families in your community or create a flyer that offers some information about foster dads in the community. 

Keep your volunteers updated.  

Stay connected with your volunteers. Whether it’s with a newsletter, social media, or your landing page, let your volunteers know what has been done to serve the foster care community this year so far. Let them know about the back-to-school carnival or the first Fall event so they can mark their calendars. Help them to see that there is something on the horizon even if it is a couple of months away. Try using a scheduling tool via social media to plan out posts throughout the summer to continue content without being tied to it all summer long.

Plan for rest.

At TFI, we want to make sure you’re investing in what matters most: Jesus and your people. You have permission to take a vacation (whether that’s at home or somewhere else) from TFI. Let us know if you’ll be less accessible or out altogether for a few weeks. We understand that. Complete your mid-year assessment in June, sign up for Retreat, and plan your next coaching call for July or August. We want to continue to serve you for many years, which means creating a sustainable ministry, not one that goes to move full force ahead. If your ministry includes first-response items that can be requested at any time, ask a trusted volunteer to be the point of contact for the month or a determined amount of time. It’s helpful if your agency contact has met them in the past, but an email introduction can do. If you receive donations each week, consider whether you need to take a month off. Communicate it online or in the bulletin to try to reduce the amount of donations you may receive.
The most important thing is that you establish rhythms that help you be refilled by the Lord. He has called each one of you to be Advocates, and you are doing amazing things!
We hope these ideas help you to feel prepared to have a successful—and more importantly, restful—summer.