School is coming to an end and summer is almost here and that means Summer Fun in New Hope Kids! But for New Hope, it does not mean VBS. Why not?
When I began to oversee the Children’s Ministry at New Hope in 2017, one of the glaring obstacles in front of me was low attendance on Wednesday nights. Many times, volunteers and I would come prepared only to find a few staff kids to teach. Now, of course, our staff kids matter, I have 4 who matter the most to me, but my heart longed for our kids to have deep Godly friendships here at church and to see many kids come to Christ, not just my own.
So, as I set with pen and paper ready to take on the challenge and implement change, God began to give me ideas! One of the ideas was to move in a direction different then VBS.
For years I had helped as a staff member with VBS and it was fun! And we definitely, saw a crowd. But year after year, I watched as we would spend thousands of dollars, recruit an army of volunteers for a whole week, and entertain hundreds of kids, only to come back to a regular Wednesday night and see a handful of kids longing for the excitement and capacity that we had seen at VBS week. So, my question was…
How do we create summer fun, that teaches about Jesus, and brings children back week after week? And with that, we started New Hope Kids Summer Fun Nights!
The idea each summer is to kick off the summer and close out the summer with a Family Event for both New Hope Kids and New Hope Students. The 2 Family Events are designed for families to have a fun event to go to together while connecting with other New Hope Kids and Student families. These are events are always open to whoever wants to come, it’s a churchwide affair! Our Family Events in the past have been a Mega Water Night and A Family Skate Night, where New Hope rented out the Brentwood Skate Center. Our close to summer Family Event has traditionally become our Back to School Kickball Game and Cookout. These events always warm my heart, as I see kids, students, parents, and church members coming together for fun!
After our kick-off, we continue our Summer Fun Nights with a lineup of fun summer activities. These nights are designed for our New Hope Kids to have something different they can invite a friend too. Each summer fun night is planned out ahead of time for the entire summer with a specific Bible verse and message so kids and families can know what fun is coming, get excited about it, invite a friend, and grow not only New Hope Kids but the Kingdom of God!
So, is it working? I think so. Our Wednesday Night Program has grown from 6-8 kids in 2017 to around 18-25 kids coming every Wednesday Night during the school year. And our average for our Summer Fun Nights and other Special nights throughout the year, (like our Fall Fun Event) average 35-45 kids each event. Godly friendships are being made, kids are coming to Christ, and we are growing! Praise God for the one who placed this plan on my heart! Praise Him for giving us the courage to change things up and move in a new direction. And praise God for families coming together and kids coming to Christ!
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom belongs to such as these” Matthew 19:14
I hope to see you all at our Kickoff to Summer Color Run on Wednesday May 15th 6:00-7:30
Bring a chair, come prepared to get colored and have some fun!