By Wanda Parker
KidTrek has Summer Day Camp curriculum. Click here for a sample of “The Fun Zone.”
Summer is a key time to engage children and fold them into the local church. Summer is an opportunity to teach skills that are more difficult to teach when they are only with you for an hour or two. It has been my experience that children involved with church ministry through out the summer feel much more a part of the church than those who aren’t – I will explain more below.
I am continuing the discussion of what an Essential church is for children’s discipleship. I don’t have a quote from the book “Essential Church?” today but wanted to discuss the importance of summer ministry. See previous posts for more on the importance of an essential church and the dsicipleship of children. Following are previous post links and topics: Discipleship of Infants and Toddlers click here, the high calling of discipling children and the difference adults can make in life of a child click here, is your church raising up 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation Christians click here, the importance of parents modeling their faith, of the church modeling the faith click here, research shows that 70% of churched kids are walking away – does your church have a plan to disciple your children click here
My vision of Children’s Summer Ministry is a six to eight week ministry. Every camp, event or trip is intentional with a purpose that goes far beyond the child’s today. It looks out to what each child is going to need when s/he is forty – what truths do they need to know, what skills do they need to be a productive adult, where they do need to have a feeling of belonging? What will be essential in their lives?
for entering second thru seventh graders every other week.
Purposes: 1.Teach the skill of planning and implementing a plan; 2.Discover in that process more about Jesus and thus more about him/herself; 3. Opportunity to have a week of fun on the church campus and thus connect more to the local church.
Learning to plan is a vital skill that children must learn in order to succeed in life. In her book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” Ruby Payne writes:
“If an individual depends upon a random episodic story structure for memory patterns, lives in an unpredictable environment, and has not developed the ability to plan, then …
“If an individual cannot plan, he/she cannot predict…
“If an individual cannot predict, he/she cannot identify cause and effect…
“If an individual cannot identify cause and effect, he/she cannot identify consequence…
“If an individual cannot identify consequence, he/she cannot control impulsivity…
“If an individual cannot control impulsivity, he/she has an inclination toward criminal behavior.”
If we are going to disciple the whole child we must teach them the skill of planning. When you have kids for a week you can walk them through the process of planning and implementing an event. They discover, perhaps for the first time, that they are able to create, to do some critical thinking for the best outcome and they have the skills to actually carry through on what they have planned.
Samples of such Day Camps are: The Fun Zone (they create a Penny Carnival they hold at the end of the week), County Fair (they work all week to create a fair which includes art judging, animals, baking, plants and a carnival), Christmas in Summer (they study how Christmas is celebrated in different countries and create an evening celebration of all these customs for friends and families.)
The wonder and excitement as the kids implement what they have created is amazing.
Wow – this has gotten longer than I thought, I will continue this summer vision tomorrow.
I am now blogging on Children’s Ministry at KidTrek Sunday Plus – a philosophy of Children’s Ministry. I will continue to Blog on Christian After School Programs here.