As the summer comes to a close and kids head back to school, it’s a once-a-year opportunity to really welcome families back to church. Though people may be saddened by the end of all the summer fun, the beginning of a new school year is a great time to reconnect with church family as everybody gets settled back into their normal routines.
The transition from the beach to the classroom can be disheartening for some. But as families return from vacations and children are moving up a grade level, it’s the perfect time to get back to church as they get back to school.
Settling into the routines of school, extracurriculars, and church can help the busyness of the fall season feel a little less hectic. Especially if you as a church leader can encourage your congregation to keep Jesus at the center of it all (did anybody else just sing that song in your head?) ShareFaith has some great Bible verses to help prepare your church as kids go back to school.
Below are 6 tips to help your church make the summer/fall transition.
1. Plan Ahead
Take a couple weeks before the students head back to the classroom to get families prepared for school and for church. Many families start transitioning back to church toward the end of summer or as soon as school starts, so you’ll want to be prepared to host these families.
Maybe even consider walking through a sermon series that’s tied to starting the new school year off right. Even if congregants don’t have school-aged children or they’re not in school themselves, the beginning of the fall season sort of triggers a sense of beginning something else, and all ages can benefit from good, biblical content.
2. Phygital Church
As churches have opened back up for in-person services, live streaming hasn’t gone away—thus, phygital church: digital and physical. The greater majority of churches who started using digital services during the pandemic plan to continue the use of live streaming to keep their congregation engaged whether they are in a pew or on their couch.
As people come back to church with the beginning of a new school year, some may still be apprehensive or feeling too busy to show up on Sundays. You’ll want to continue the community with those watching online. You’ll be able to maximize your ministry by incorporating both physical and digital ministry for your church family.
With summer comes a lot of disconnect from people’s usual communities and routines. Yes, there is tons of fun but also a lack of structure and solidarity. People who are returning to church in the fall will most likely crave connection with other believers.
Plan on encouraging people to sign up for a small group. Inspire connection through volunteerism. Usually people feel more intertwined when they are serving because they meet more people and feel like they’re part of a team. Maybe host a back-to-school event or fundraiser. These sorts of ideas will help people stay involved, attend more often, and build relationships.
Usually when people are on summer break, they also take a break from giving their tithes and offerings. As they come back to their routines, you’ll want to make it easy for them to participate in the mission of your church through giving.
Provide multiple options to give through your online giving platform. Donors can contribute to a new campaign or ministry project that may be starting up in the fall. Or simply remind them how impactful their generosity is and how easy it is to make a difference.
5. Kids Ministry
We can’t talk about back to school without mentioning kids’ ministry. Many families choose their church based on the children’s ministry, so you’ll want to have a plan in place for all the kids that are ready to jump in on Sundays. This includes lessons, activities, and having enough volunteers.
Utilize pre-built lesson plans to not only save time but provide engaging, biblical teaching. ShareFaith also has a Kids Scheduler to organize your Sunday school—from volunteers to lessons to the calendar. Equip your team for success as they have the opportunity to pour into the lives of children.
6. Get the Word Out
Be sure to spread the word about all the exciting things you have planned for your church during back to school. Update your website with any information people will need to know. Share posts on social media about service times and invite people to church.
One great way to bring more people in is to go out into the community. Perhaps do some back-to-school fundraisers or do a school cleanup before the new year begins. This will not only encourage church members to get involved, but the administrators, faculty, students, and parents of the school(s) will be blessed and may even begin attending your church, too.
This was just a sneak peek of some of the great ways to get ready for back to school. If you’d like to have even more strategies to help your church plan for the upcoming school year, download the ShareFaith eBook – Back to School Blueprint: 5 Ways to Prepare for Growth in Every Area of Church.