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Outreach That Works

Feed the Brain and the Heart
Even though kids can't wait to take a break from school and homework, their minds still long for stimulation and a good workout. Day camps can be a great outreach tool by providing a fun learning environment in areas of interest such as art, science, or sports. Offer day camps that not only educate kids in a particular subject but also show how God is present in everything we do. Have daily devotions that complement what the kids are learning, pray before snack time, and invite kids back for church on the weekend. Here are a few day camp themes to get you started.

Weird Science -- Kids love to do science experiments and learn about how things work. Design your day camp around nature and lessons from Genesis and the Creation.

Performing Arts Extravaganza -- For kids who love to pretend or are dramatic, spend a week teaching them how to become a character, build sets, and have good stage presence. Teach kids about how God has given us each gifts and talents to share with others. This camp is also a great building block for getting kids involved in ministries such as puppetry, worship, or drama.

Extreme Sports -- Many of the sports camps offered over the summer are overnight camps that are pricey and geared for older kids. So offer a day camp that focuses on one sport such as soccer or basketball, or offer a fun fitness program to spark kids' interest in a variety of sports. Have students from a local Christian college or members of your local high school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes program provide the expertise you need to teach sports fundamentals. Lead devotions each day that share the faith of Christian athletes such as Olympic soccer player Michelle Akers or St. Louis Rams' football player Aeneas Williams. This day camp program may even spark a church team roster for local recreation programs.

Get Kids Together
These brief events are also great for connecting kids inside and outside your church.

Flip for Fun Fridays. Pick a day of the week to provide a weekly opportunity for kids to attend a field trip with your church. Venture to places such as the zoo, beach, or museum. Place kids in small groups for the day led by an adult or teenager.

These fun days provide a great opportunity for kids to hang out together and build relationships with each other over the summer in a different environment. These events also provide an easy and convenient way for kids who are already plugged into your ministry to invite their friends who may not attend church. Challenge kids in your ministry to reach out to their friends by providing fliers with all the necessary information.

Start Summer Clubs. Book or movie clubs provide another window for kids to peer into your church over the summer. Before school dismisses, distribute fliers that advertise your club -- when and where it'll meet and what'll be provided. Public schools are typically very open to churches advertising a program that enhances what the school is trying to achieve during the school year.

For book clubs, team with your church library or a Christian bookstore to provide good books for a variety of reading levels. Have weekly club meetings to discuss a book, and provide activities during your meeting that complement what the kids are reading. Choose books that teach good values and life lessons to enhance good discussions for your leaders.

A wholesome movie in an air-conditioned room is always a treat on a hot summer day. Provide popcorn and drinks for participants, and allow for time following the movie to discuss the film. For preteens, try a "dive-in" movie and show the movie at a pool after dark. Kids can float in the pool to keep cool as they watch the movie projected on a big screen. Use resources such as Children's Ministry Magazine's "Reel Time" found in "Keeping Current" to spark discussions about current movies.

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