4 ways to end summer with a bang

It’s that time of year we never see coming — the dog days of summer. It’s the in-between time — between all our summer fun and school returning. All the VBS props are packed away and the committee won’t meet again for months. All the piles of laundry from church camp have been washed, folded and put away along with a treasure chest of great memories. A summer full of adventures, reconnecting with old friends, and making new friends, all while learning about God’s love, has made this season one for the books.

But wait … the calendar still shows that weeks of summer are left until school starts. While you still may be basking in the glow of all the successful summer programming you have accomplished, the lazy hot summer days of late July and early August are upon us.

Parents are well aware of this conundrum as vacation to-do lists have been replaced with back-to-school to-do lists. Is watching the kids play video games on the sofa all there is left?

For faith communities, these weeks can be a prime opportunity to solidify the new relationships you have made during your summer programming. Take the opportunity to connect once more with new friends who came to your VBS and are just being introduced to your church. Here are four simple ideas that can be easily implemented but score big points with church families and your community friends alike.

Movie on the lawn

Convert your church lawn into a makeshift drive-in! Projectors and screens can be purchased or rented — you may have what you need already — or be creative and ask which technical mavens in your church can take the lead in getting you wired for vision and sound. Invite everyone to picnic on your grounds while enjoying a family-friendly flick. Maybe the youth group can sell some refreshments to get an early start on mission trip fundraising for next year.

Create your own neighborhood water park

Invite the families who enjoyed your VBS to come back for a VBS themed water park afternoon. Sprinklers, slip-n-slides, water balloons, or maybe even a rented water friendly inflatable can creatively be arranged to create a wonderfully wet and wild experience. Reuse your VBS props to reinforce the VBS theme! Don’t make it too hard. Summer heat and cool water activities may be just the remedy to the hot days of summer doldrums.

Old-fashioned ice cream social

Wondering what to do with all the leftover plastic bowls and spoons from VBS and camp? Is there a competitive spirit in your church community? If so, an old-fashioned homemade ice cream churning contest could become the highlight of the summer. Invite anyone who wants to bring a batch of their favorite recipe to share. Have your resident audiophile play DJ for the event. Create categories, judge entries and award prizes. The grand prize winner gets bragging rights for a year!

Food truck festival

Do food trucks roam the streets of your community? Why not invite them to park in your parking lot one evening and invite all the surrounding friends and neighbors to come over? Set up tables and chairs, stage a talent show or feature musicians from your church. You’ll have the makings of your own street festival right in your parking lot. It will be the talk of the town.

You have enjoyed a wonderful summer of renewing friendships, making new friends and getting to know your neighbors a little better. An easy but fun late summer church and community event can help you strengthen these connections. Have one more blast before school kicks back in session.

This post first appeared at Cokesbury Commons

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