Jul 10, 2017

Promotion...Beginning or End of Summer...Which is Best

Promotion is a key part of children's ministry.  How you help kids transition up to the next grade is vital.  And a big part of HOW you do promotion is WHEN you do promotion.

Some ministries do promotion at the beginning of summer.  Others do promotion at the end of summer.  Let's compare the benefits of both.

Promoting at the Beginning of Summer: 
  • Kids naturally consider themselves in the next grade as soon as school is out.  Ask a child who just completed 1st grade what grade they are in the day after school lets out and he or she will say "2nd grade."  Promoting kids when school lets out lines up with what they are already thinking. 
  • Kids have the summer to get acclimated to their new class, small group, age grouping, etc.  Kids are already stressed out in the fall about fitting into their new grade.  Promoting in the summer at church helps tone down the stress from dealing with simultaneous promotion at school and church. 
  • Kids can be involved in the summer activities of the group they are promoting up to.  An example would be 5th graders getting to go to middle school camp.   
  • Kids have the summer to build relationships with the volunteers and staff of the next age group.  This gives them a better connection going into the fall season.  
  • Parents are already in the "closure" mindset at the end of the school year.  Parents are a key part of transition and kids take their cues from their parent's emotional mindset.   Since parents are already in a closure mindset at the end of the school year, it makes it easier for them to accept the fact that their child is finished with a phase at church as well. 
  • You have a better platform to advertise the promotion.  When school is still in session, more parents and families are in town, so you are better able to connect with them.  You can start communicating the promotion two to three months out.
Promoting at the End of Summer:
  • Kids can still participate in the summer activities of the age group they are in.  Some ministries even do a hybrid of this and move kids up for the weekend services / classes while still allowing them to participate in the previous grades/groups activities. 
  • It can build excitement going into the fall ministry season.  There is a built in excitement that comes with a new school year beginning.  You can tag onto this to create energy and excitement at church. 
  • It gives you the summer to get key volunteers in place for the fall ministry season.  More volunteers and families are obviously on vacation during the summer.  This can be a challenge if you are trying to start kids in their new classroom or grade level.  Waiting until the fall to promote helps you avoid this. 
So...which is best?  Promoting at the beginning or end of summer?  This is something that you must think through for your ministry.  It is also critical that you collaborate with the student ministry in this decision.  One of the most important transitions is from elementary into middle school ministry.  Many parents are very sensitive and nervous when facing this transition.  Their "baby" is growing up and that's a difficult thing to deal with.  You want to make the transition as easy as possible for them.  This must be a big factor in when you decide to do promotion.  You must work with student ministries to determine which will be most beneficial for kids and their parents.

Your turn.  When do you do promotion?  At the beginning or end of summer?  Why do promote then?  Share your thoughts with everyone in the comment section below. 

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