Below you’ll find the show notes for episode 41, Women’s Ministry Summer Discipleship Solutions, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
About this time last year, I released a blog post and podcast episode that addressed the reasons why I don’t recommend a summer sabbatical. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t!
This blog post and podcast episode offers ideas on what to offer during those summer months.
You’ll find all the details on my Women’s Ministry Summer Discipeship Solutions below.
6 Summer Discipleship Solutions:
1. Summer Classes
Last summer our women’s ministry team offered 4 weekly evening summer classes. Each class was a stand-alone class but connected with a common theme. Our theme was Women on Mission encouraging our women to live out their faith in 4 specific ways.
The four classes were:
- Living Out Your Faith Through Fashion
- Living Out Your Faith in Your Relationships
- Living Out Your Faith in Healthy Rhythms (mentally, emotionally, and physically)
- Living Out Your Faith Through Social Media (which I led)
We invited in an outside speaker for the meeting on fashion, but the rest were led by women on our team. We met from 6:45 – 8 PM on Wednesday night. We asked women to sign up to help with the food each week. We had the snack trifecta, something salty, something sweet, and something healthy. The big hit was the iced coffee!
2. Summer Bible Study Sessions
You might assume summer Bible studies will have fewer women in attendance, even if that is the case, those who can attend will appreciate the opportunity to study God’s Word in the summer.
One church I served in had just as high numbers in the summer as we did during a typical fall session. We had many women in our church that taught during the school year and they were thrilled to have the opportunity for a daytime women’s Bible study.
Even if you don’t typically offer childcare, I’d strongly recommend offering childcare during your summer Bible study session for children of all ages. Please don’t assume that every mom is comfortable leaving older children home alone. Older children may be great helpers with the younger ones.
Summer book clubs offer an easy way for women to gather during the summer.
One church we belonged to offered as many as 8 different book club meetings one summer. Usually, the woman whose home we were meeting in was also the book club hostess. We met for 1 ½ hours, just once, to talk about the book we read. Women in our church could attend as many book club meetings as they desired.
Hostesses could prepare a light snack and offered water, tea, or lemonade. The hosting responsibilities were purposefully kept simple.
If your Bible studies are focused on books of the Bible, a summer book club provides the opportunity for women to read a Bible study book.
The women’s ministry at that church allowed the hostess to select the book. All books selected were Christian books and approved by the church staff. Please be certain to vet every selection. You may find my podcast on Discernment and Selecting Discipleship Materials to be helpful.
We had a wide variety of different kinds of books to choose from. Consider including a Christian classic, biography, fiction, and non-fiction. New releases and books that address biblical truth and cultural issues can be quite popular too.
4. Beta Groups
Beta groups are just another word for test groups.
If you’re planning to launch a new program or activity in the fall, a beta group can help work out the kinks and provide some powerful testimonials.
If you’re planning to launch a mentoring program, have a smaller group take the curriculum on a test run. Or maybe you’re going to offer a weekly Christian exercise program, the summer could be a great time to offer some sample classes and create a buzz before formal sign-ups begin in the fall.
Think about what your team is working on that would benefit from a test run with a small group of women. Be sure you provide an opportunity for those women to submit anonymous feedback so your team will be aware of any issues that need to be addressed.
These last two ideas are a bit lighter on discipleship as the focus is relationship building and not Bible study. Pray that God will use these opportunities to connect women with others who will offer spiritual encouragement and support. Susan might attend her first Bible study because of a conversation she had with Cathy at a summer fellowship.
5. Home-hosted Events
Summer can be a great time for smaller in-home gatherings. If your church is smaller, you may not need to limit attendance one host home may be plenty. However, if your church is larger, instead of limiting the number of guests, recruit multiple hostesses for the same activity and evening.
In this blog post, I share the details of an event we had called “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” Attendees were asked to bring a dish for dinner which was coordinated by the hostess. We had no idea who else would be attending the dinner until we arrived. It was fun to see who was at the door each time the doorbell rang.
Other ideas include game nights, cookouts, and pool parties. If you live near a lake, you may have church members that would be happy to host an event at their lake home.
6. Summer Fellowships
Summer fellowships provide seasonal opportunities your women may enjoy such as attend a garden tour, meet up at a farmer’s market, attend an outdoor concert, or host an ice cream social.
Need a few more ideas? You’ll find 30 summer fellowship ideas in this blog post.
Summer women’s ministry events and activities can provide opportunities for your women to try new things and connect with women outside of their social circles.
Today’s Toolbox Task:
- Talk with your team about what you’ll offer this summer.
- Schedule at least 2 summer activities or events for your women.
As you pray over your summer ministry calendar, may the Lord reveal what would serve your women best during the summer months.
Thank you for reading.
Leading in women’s ministry can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be! You’ll find support and ideas you can use in the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Community Facebook Group. We’d love for you to join us!
You may also want to read:
Should your women’s ministry take a summer sabbatical?
How to Host a Summer Book Club
Discipleship and Discernment
Selecting Discipleship, Mentoring, and Bible Study Materials
Fellowship Idea: Guess who’s coming to dinner!
30 Summer Fellowship Ideas
Childcare Solutions for Women’s Ministry
Summer Icebreaker: Who here?
Summer: Would You Rather Questions