3 LOW-PREP, NO STRESS SUMMER EVENT IDEAS FOR WOMEN’S MINISTRY IN YOUR SMALL CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Tips for a Book Club, a Walking Group, & a Girls’ Night Out!

Something happens to churches in the summer.

I clasp my hands, intertwining my fingers with the following rhyme:

Here’s the church. Here’s the steeple. Open the doors and where’s all the people? And, in this version, there’s no people!

Summertime Church Blues:

  • Attendance is inconsistent
  • People get disconnected
  • Vacations interrupt regular schedules
  • And Events Flop!

And it’s even more difficult for Small Churches. Simply because we have less people.

A large church that gets 100 women at an event may drop to 40 in the summer. Still do-able.

But a church where you are used to 10 at an event? Well, an event of 3 just loses some of its OOMPH!

Most small churches consider 2 options for the summer:

  1. Power through it and continue regular programming.
  2. Cancel summer programming.

Trying to power through is often disappointing.

  • Low attendance. Low energy. People forget even when they are actually in town. They are just out of the regular routine.

Cancelling everything for the summer means losing momentum.

  • We get disconnected. Then we spend a few months in the fall trying to recover and restart.

But there is a 3rd (and MUCH BETTER) option!

What if there was a solution to mix it up a bit? An easy no-stress option to keep women connected. While still giving volunteers a break from stress and expectations of throwing a large event.

HERE’S THE SOLUTION: 3 Options for Low-Prep, No-Stress Summer Event Ideas for Women Ministry

Choose one of 3 options below. All 3 are run as a Summer Series. 3 Events. June. July. August.

  • To make it easier.
  • To increase attendance.
  • To develop a momentum of their own.

WHAT MAKES THESE 3 OPTIONS SUCCESSFUL

1 . Co-Leaders

Two people host each event, as a pair. This is an absolute must!

If no one shows up besides my friend who’s hosting with me, there is no waste of time or resources!

We do what we planned to do and still have a great time.

2. No Numbers Required

All 3 Options work with 2 people or 20+.

Success isn’t dependent on numbers.

Summer gets very disjointed. People are out of our regular routine. Not just their schedules, but also their thinking! So these choices work with few or many.

3. Low-Prep AND No-Stress

All these options are low prep. Some are as simple as “open a home and invite people in.” But cleaning your house is even optional. All 3 Options can be held at other locations.

  • You are not hiring a speaker.
  • You are not making place cards.
  • You are not crafting party favors.
  • You are not finding zany mixers or games.

4. Intergenerational

Because your numbers are naturally lower in the summer, inclusiveness is key!

Try to choose the option that includes most of your women. From 18 to 80+ , these options are doable, inclusive, and relational.

5. Visitor Friendly

Summer Events are a great casual time to bring friends. So keep these events inviting and open.

(If you are interested in Summer discipleship stay tuned for my post on Mentoring Made Easy – perfect for summer.)

6. Come As You Are!

No one has to dress up. Bring a costume. Do their hair. No prep. No pressure.

This makes it Summer-friendly for those coming and going.

Why a Series of 3 Events?

The Series of 3 is one of the Keys to Summer Success.

Having a series is familiar and comfortable.

A Series gives women 3 chances to make it.

  • If they miss one, they can still look forward to the next.
  • If they can come to all 3, GREAT!

A Themed Series cuts down on questions and keeps it simple.

  • We are bombarded with information and continual decisions to make!
  • Let’s make it easy for summer.

A Series of 3 builds momentum.

  • It’s different. It’s fun. It fits with the season.

3 MADE-FOR-YOU SUMMER EVENT OPTIONS FOR YOUR WOMEN’S MINISTRY

3 Book Club Meetings, 3 Women’s Walks (Step-It-Up!), 3 Dessert Nights (Girls’ Nights Out)

OPTION 1: Summer Book Club

Book clubs are simply trendy!

Whether you have avid readers, wanna-be readers, or women just looking for an excuse for a girls’-night-out, women love book clubs.

Reasons to choose the Summer Book Club:

  • A summer book club with well chosen books may expose some of your women to good Christian fiction for the first time. And they might find out they love it.
  • Many people are looking for renewal in their summers. Reading for pleasure can be a part of setting a new pace and creating personal space.
  • Reading is great for your brain and your health.
  • Summer Book Clubs are great outreach for women not involved in your church.

To save you time, here are 3 books perfect for your summer club. They represent different writing styles and flavors.

BOOK 1: In the Field of Grace, Tessa Afshar

Amazon’s Summary begins with, “Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi’s, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation. But God has other plans for her life.”

BOOK 2: Chop Chop, L.N. Cronk (Chop, Chop series Book 1)

Once again from Amazon: “It seems to David that both Greg and Laci are a bit . . . out there. Between each of them constantly chopping off their hair for charity and Greg’s clandestine hand signals, neither of them seem likely to develop friendships with reserved young David. Despite their differences, however, all three grow closer to each other and – as they do – David grows closer to God as well. Nearing adulthood, David finds himself content in every way . . . but when tragedy strikes, David must struggle to find his way back to God.”

BOOK 3: A Rose Blooms Twice, Vikki Kestell (A Prairie Heritage, Book 1)

Amazon’s synopsis: “Rose Brownlee has suffered more loss than most people can endure. Now she must find a purpose and a way to move on with her life. Will she bow to conventional wisdom or will she, like Abraham of old, choose to follow where God leads her . . . even to a wild and strange land she does not know? Set in the American prairie of the late 1800s, this story of loss, disillusionment, rebirth, and love will inspire, challenge, and encourage you. One woman’s courageous journey to redemption and new love!”

OPTION 2: Summer Walking Group (Step-It-Up!)

No one even has to open their home for this one!

Pick a location. Meet up once a month. June. July. August.

We did this a few summers ago and were shocked at the variety of women who came. As well as the amazing conversations as we walked. And how much we looked forward to the next!

Location Options to consider:

  • outlet mall
  • neighborhood streets/sidewalk
  • walking path in a park
  • indoor mall
  • school track
  • state hiking trail

I suggest choosing one location and a consistent time. Like Saturday at 9 a.m.

Keeping a consistent time and place leads to better memory. Better memory means better attendance!

Reasons to Choose the Summer Walking Group:

  • Most of us already know we need to move more.
  • Having a group means accountability and fellowship.
  • It’s healthy. Body, Mind, and Spirit!

So find 2 champions to host this one and you are off and running! (well, walking anyway)

OPTION 3: Summer Dessert Nights for a fun Girls’ Night Out

Haha! It seems so wrong to write about this after a Walking Group, but let’s throw in the ice cream!! (’cause I’d rather eat than exercise!)

There are many ways to set up Dessert Nights.

I intend to bake much more often than I do, and running to the store is so much easier!

So to keep it simple this summer (low-prep and no-stress) I suggest an Ice Cream Bar with the tag, “Bring your favorite topping if you like!”

You’ll want to provide the Ice Cream, but you can list topping suggestions in your promotion for fun and variety (brownie bits, cookie bites, whipped cream, gummy bears, etc.).

This allows women to share the bringing without the stress of baking or creating a whole dessert.

Bag up and freeze left over toppings for next month’s event!

A Caution About Food Events:

Food is a social mechanism in our society. It brings us together. It builds commonality. It’s inclusive. Or is it?

What used to be the common potluck where all are welcome, now has a conflicting edge that often causes division.

What in the world do we do with all the food sensitivities out there?

I boldly implore you NOT to ignore food sensitivities. As a mom with a daughter who gets violently ill on gluten and dairy, I can emotionally tell you that food (for us) is no longer the unifying healing balm of society.

Of course you cannot avoid every sensitivity, allergy, diet, and preference. But you can be compassionate.

Smaller churches actually have an advantage. We tend to know more back story and have an idea of where people are with their diets and allergies.

When you serve food, advertise clearly ahead of time what food will served. Maybe even add “if you have food sensitivities let us know!”

If you’re serving ice cream and you have some dairy free people coming, consider picking up some So Delicious Dairy-Free Ice Cream at the neighborhood grocery store. (Their Cashew Salted Caramel Cluster is a Great Flavor – and it happens to be Gluten Free as well!)

We can’t ignore food events. But we can put relationships first and respond with compassion. Not judgement or jokes.

3 STEPS TO MAKE THESE EVENTS HAPPEN

Picking your option is half the battle. But don’t forget the other half!

Here are some tips for success!

  1. FIND HOSTESS PAIRS – at least 2 for each date!
  2. PICK THE DATES TODAY – don’t wait!
  3. ADVERTISE LIKE CRAZY – start today, multiple ways and all through the summer!

1) FIND YOUR PERFECT HOSTESS PAIRS

First, your Hostess Pairs need to like hanging out together. The whole point in having 2 people host is that if no one shows up they can still have a blast!

What to Look for in the Perfect Hostesses:

  • They LOVE People.
  • Others want to be around THEM.
  • They smile a lot. Happy. Joyful.
  • They are Reliable. You can count on them to stick to the chosen date.

Does the Hostess need to open her home?

Absolutely not!

An event could be held at church, a park, a backyard, or a neighborhood coffee shop.

But even if it is not in a home you still need 2 hostesses! They will simply host at an outside location.

Should I have the same 2 Hostesses for all 3 Events in the Series?

Not necessarily.

Having a different set of hostesses for each month will increase your reach into different friendship groups.

I highly recommend 3 different sets of women (if you have them) to increase your fun and your reach! But if you have a pair of perfect hostesses who want to host all 3 book clubs, go for it!

2) PICK ALL 3 DATES NOW! DON’T WAIT!

Tips to pick best dates:

#1 Do some recon!

Know your peeps.

If you are in a small church, you know that a bad date mean a total flop because your potential attendance may only be 4 anyway!

So talk to your core ladies and ask about vacations and summer plans. What day of the week is best. What time is best.

Consider the church calendar. Avoid VBS week. But a girls’ night out while students are on the mission trip might be perfect timing!

#2 Choose all 3 dates now and stick with them.

Advertise them loudly and boldly!

WHY CHOOSE ALL 3 DATES SO SOON?

  • People want dates early in the summer.
  • It helps build momentum.
  • People can plan around early dates.
  • It sets these events apart as a Series – and makes them more special!

3) ADVERTISE FOR SUCCESS

Over-Communicate. You cannot advertise too much for summer events!

Advertise in Multiple Ways.

Don’t just have a flyer. And don’t just put it in the bulletin. Promote and Remind all over the place.

  • Use Facebook.
  • AND Instagram.
  • AND have a flyer.
  • AND use bulletin announcements.
  • AND invite by Telephone.
  • AND sent reminder texts.
  • AND do upfront announcements in church.

REMEMBER YOUR GOALS FOR SUCCESS:

  • It’s not about numbers. Not in the summer.
  • It’s about relationships. Get to know people. Deepen connections.

Prepare for small attendance in the summer. Set your expectations for numbers low. Set your intention on depth of relationships.

A few women together is beautiful. If more join in, even better.

Have fun! And let me know how it goes. I want to hear about your summer successes!

For More About Personal Renewal This Summer Check Out:

Women in Ministry: Finding Peace in 2 Surprising Ways