We returned to services in late February and opened Sunday school in March. We began with an online sign up so that we could prepare to the different ages of children and have adequate staff. After a month, we stopped sign ups.
We do have a 6 person staff in children's ministry so we were able to begin our programming with staff only. We recently started volunteer recruiting and have been able to hold three classrooms; a preschool room, an early grade school room, and an older grade school room.
Our tradition is to have outdoor worship during the summer, (Memorial Day-Labor Day) but this year we moved outside in mid April. We do not plan to move inside until October.
What we have learned so far:
- The families that returned immediately are the regulars.
- Our overall attendance improved when we moved to outdoor worship.
- Our Sunday school attendance is approximately 28% of registered students.
I will be curious to see what attendance will look like in the fall. We are planning to return to normal classes in the fall with full rotation.
The children's ministry committee will begin a summer campaign to reach out to those families that have not attended since March 2020. We will visit homes and drop off a 'we miss you' gift and card. PInterest has plenty of ideas to help in creating something unique to your church.
Last year during the pandemic we visited everyone in our program and drew a picture in sidewalk chalk on their driveway, and left pieces of chalk for the family to finish the picture and send in to our social media account. It was a great way to connect and could be one way other churches to connect if they have not yet returned to church.
We are planning an all church BBQ in July complete with a bounce house and yard games like corn hole, bocci, and volleyball. Families will bring in the games and we were given a donation to rent bounce house. Part of the connecting families via door to door is to invite them to the church picnic.
We are planning a rally day in September and have food trucks planned for this day.
Sunday school will run throughout the summer months and our older grade school kids will be allowed to assist in the classroom.
We are having a full VBS at the end of the July.
I hope this helps others as we all navigate new territory.