Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Is It Time to Put Ministry on the Shelf?

I once attended a church wherer Awana would draw about 100 children on a typical Wednesday night and once Awana ended for the summer, the program that replaced it drew 10 children. I always wondered why? Was it because the leadership accepted that children wouldn’t come during the summer? Was it a poorly run program? Was it not publicized well? Had they simply put ministry “on the shelf” for the summer?

I struggle with the same thing today. Awana has ended and we do not currently have anything in place to fill that time. I wonder if we should be doing more. Some might suggest that we’ve put the “winter clothes” on the shelf, and now have the “summer clothes” (VBS, camp, etc.) out and maybe that is a good analogy, I’m really not sure.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know the need for people to take breaks and re-energize, re-focus, revitilize, etc. but I can’t help but wonder if we’ve given up summer and just accepted that people will not be involved.

Then we have a big fall kick-off where we may inadvertantly be sharing the perception that it is time to get “serious” about ministry – get serious about God and the Christian life and fire up all those ministries we run from fall through the spring.

Is summertime a time where we place ministry on the shelf, a time we “swap the clothing of ministry”, or what?

Please share your thoughts…

The Author


  1. Hey Bill,

    I hear you on this one, but I think it’s “just one of those things”. We have the same program year round and the numbers still drastically drop. Kids want to play outside and parents just want to relax. In a way, I think it’s good that families are spending time together, but are we conveying there’s a time for church and a time to take a break? This year, we’re ampting up the programming to make it better and more interactive, so we’ll see how it goes. I think no matter what you do though, the numbers will be down.

    1. Lindsay, Thanks for sharing what you are doing and your experiences. The one thing about the church I referenced was that when they had a better promoted and run program during the summer, the numbers were good. Of course they also required more volunteers. One idea which seemed to work well the one summer they did it was to run a VBS program on Wednesdays during the summer (instead of a focused week). That seemed to work real well.

      Yes, I would expect lower numbers as people take vacations and all, but I would hope they would not drastically drop.

      If you remember, let me know how things go this summer as you amp up the program to try to draw more kids.

      Again, thanks for sharing 🙂

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