11 Summer Outreach Ideas for Your Church

leadership May 08, 2024

Summer is a great time of the year to make extra effort to reach out to your community as a church.

With school out and the weather being warm, summertime lends itself to some unique opportunities to connect with people outside your church.

11 Summer Outreach Ideas for Your Church

1. Social media ads

Summer is a great time to experiment with social media ads and meet people where they are — scrolling on social media.

So, what could you do?

Here are two ideas:

Run social ads to a practical, biblical email devotional. This takes some forethought and the right software to pull off (I recommend you use Convertkit for this). But it can be powerful. Basically, you write a week-long devotional (few hundred words each day) on a practical topic that non-churchgoers would be interested in. Then, at the end of the devotional, you invite them to church. You’d accomplish this through utilizing email automation that automatically begins sending subscribers the series of emails.

Run social ads where the goal is for people to send you a message, specifically, you’ll run prayer request ads. This is the simplest to get started, but it does require you have someone monitoring your social pages on a regular basis while you’re running the ads. But getting to have conversations with people in your community your church isn’t already connected with is a great opportunity to speak the gospel to people and invite them to gather with you for a service.

Here’s some additional help on making Facebook ads for your church.

2. Host a car show

This is a favorite of mine because I love car shows. It’s a great opportunity to connect with some great people — the car community.

A quick google search would tell you what car clubs are around your church. Then, contact them and see what can be done.

Also, here’s a step-by-step guide to host a car show.

A ninja move with the car show is to plan on conducting a free raffle with some fun prizes. Require people to give you their name and a phone number (so you can contact the winner).

Then, after the event is over and you contacted the raffle winners, schedule two text messages to be sent out with your text message service (like Text in Church) the following week:

  1. On the following Wednesday… Reach out and ask them if you can pray for them (make sure they know it’s from your church).
  2. Then on Friday… Invite them to attend your church if they don’t already have a church home.

3. VBS (Traditional + New Approaches)

Vacation Bible School is still a great opportunity to reach families in your community.

And, of course, a traditional approach is tried and true.

But here are a couple new approaches your church could consider:

  1. Bible + Skill… This is an approach to VBS where you still teach the kids Scripture and teach them the gospel. And in addition to that, you teach them a skill. Here are some examples:
    1. Cooking
    2. Babysitting
    3. Construction (think: simple woodworking or even legos)
    4. Art
    5. Leadership
    6. Fishing
    7. etc.
  2. Bible + Sport… This is an approach to VBS where, again, you’re still teaching the kids Scripture and teaching them the gospel, but you’re also getting them moving and engaging in various sports (this could be a single sport VBS or even a combination of sports) like:
    1. Cheer
    2. Basketball
    3. Baseball
    4. Soccer
    5. Tennis
    6. Pickleball
    7. Volleyball
    8. Hockey (my fav)
    9. etc.

As a father of four kids, my wife and I are always trying to find great experiences for our kids to participate in during the summer. And, of course, we’re not the only parents like that. VBS is still a great opportunity to reach kids AND maybe even reach their parents too.

4. Date Night

I love it when the church finds ways to help people grow closer to Jesus, improve their relationships, and have fun at the same time.

And for couples, what’s better than a date night?!

Here are a few approaches to consider:

  • Dinner + Learning… Cater a meal and invite a speaker.
    • Marriage
    • Parenting
  • Dinner + Dancing… Cater a meal and invite a dance instructor who will teach couples ballroom dance.
  • Dinner + Laughing… Cater a meal and invite a comedian.

5. Serve Day/Week

I love this because it allows you to both mobilize your people to serve while blessing organizations and/or people in your community.

This takes some advanced planning but it’s less daunting than you might think.

Get a list of service opportunities and encourage your people to sign up. Make sure the logistics and communications are on point and you’ll have a great result.

6. Free Car Wash

Turn your parking lot into a multi-stall car wash, but instead of it being for a fundraiser, do it for free.

Because, let’s face it, car washes are extremely expensive these days.

Bonus points if you have some drinks and snacks to offer people to enjoy while they get their car washed.

7. Donut Day

It’s this simple: get a team of people to go to a local donut shop and buy donuts and deliver them to local businesses.

Bonus points if you make some simple index-size cards that say something simple like, “We hope you have a great day! - [Church name]”

What a great way to put some smiles on some people in the community!

8. Outdoor Movie Night

This is a great way to enjoy that parking lot on a day other than Sunday. Or that open grassy space on your property.

Now, be sure to promote the movie night on social media and on community event websites so that people know that it’s open to the public.

Rent a popcorn maker and purchase some drinks and you’ve got a great evening.

Oh, you’ll also need an A/V setup. And a movie, of course.

Here's some important info on hosting a successful movie night (including licensing info).

9. Back to School Clothing Drive

Because clothes aren’t cheap and kids… they’re always growing. Did I mention I’m a father of four?!

This is a great way to bless people in your community. And it can be done in a short span of time so you lessen the need for storage.

I’ve seen it done successfully by the team I led by having a couple days of receiving donations (Thursday and Friday) and then a single Saturday for people to come get clothes.

It’s a great way to connect with people while also meeting a very real need.

10. Back to School Supplies Drive

This may be done best by partnering with the local schools. Find out from them what the supplies required are and how you can help them help families in need.

You may find that they’re very willing to partner with you. How awesome would it be if your church and maybe even a few others partnered with local schools to completely cover all the school supplies needed for students in a given year?! Very awesome!

To make it happen, you mobilize your people to purchase the supplies or make monetary donations to go toward bulk purchases of supplies.

11. Organize a 5K

Because it’s good to promote good health and connect with people in your community. And a bonus, this is a great opportunity to partner with local businesses.

Because, believe it or not, there are people out there who like running.

Wild, right?!

But they need Jesus too.

So organize a 5K and make some new connections.

Here’s a complete guide on organizing a 5K.

What would you add?

What kind of outreach initiatives are you doing this year at your church? Let me know on Twitter/X or in the Preaching and Leadership Facebook Group.

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