10 Steps You Need to Take to Be Ready for the Fall Ministry Season

I know...it's still hot outside. We are right in the middle of summer. 

I get tickled when other ministries say summer is a "slow season" for them. 

If you're in children's ministry, summer is one of your busiest times of the year.  You have VBS, camps, family events, volunteer enlistment and more. 

Then...with little to no break, you jump into a busy fall season of ministry. 

The fall ministry season is fast approaching and you have to be ready.  

Here are 10 steps you need to take to be ready for the fall ministry season. 

1. Plan out key dates for fall events, programs and outreach.  

I suggest you plan your calendar at least a year in advance.  But if you still have some key dates you need to finalize, now is the time to take care of that and get it on the ministry calendar.  

Don't do this in a silo. Make sure your events and programs are going to gel with what other ministries are doing.  An example: you don't want to have your fall training on the same day as a men's ministry outreach event.  Be proactive about this and partner with the other ministries in your church so you can have a calendar that works for you and not against you.

2. Re-engage families

Families have been out of town on vacation.  Many have been sporadic in their church attendance.  With school starting back, families' schedules will be "back to normal."  Reach out to families and encourage them to get back into a consistent church attendance flow.  Use direct mail, phone calls and social media to touch bases with them. Let them know you have missed seeing them and look forward to re-connecting.

3. Enlist new volunteers.  

Use the fall as a key time to bring new volunteers on board. In my book, The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams,  I share how you can reach out to people who served at VBS, camps or events and invite them to join your team on a full-time basis.  Do this well and you can see lots of new volunteers join your team going into the fall.

4. Train your volunteers.  

It's important to host a volunteer training as you are going into the fall season.  The purpose is to get everyone on the same page, cast vision, motivate and equip volunteers.  If you need a speaker for your training, feel free to contact me.  I have one or two openings available in the next few months.

5. Have a high attendance day push.  

Get kids excited about bringing their friends to church on that day.  Give them invite cards they can use to invite schoolmates, team members, neighbors, etc.  Ramp everything up and make it a great day. I suggest doing this a week or so after school has started back up so kids can have time to invite their friends.

6. Have a one day staff retreat.

This can be for staff and/or high level volunteers.  Take key leaders off-site for a day of brainstorming, encouraging and investing in them.  Don't forget to carve out some time to eat together and have fun together as well.

7. Amp up communication.

Keep parents, volunteers and staff in the know.  Use social media, texting, email and other forms of communication to keep everyone in the loop on what is happening in the fall ministry season.

8. Look for ways to partner with other ministries.  

Can you partner with adult ministries for a family fall festival?  

Can adult small groups each sponsor a trunk for trunk or treat?  

Can you partner with adult ministries to do a parenting class?

Can you partner with student ministry to see students serve in children's ministry?

Can you partner with men's ministry to do a father-son camp-out?

Can you partner with women's ministry to do a mother-daughter event? 

There are lots of possibilities when you get out of the silo mode and into the partnership mode.

9. Bless local elementary schools.

Provide a breakfast for the teachers. 

Provide teachers with supplies that they would normally have to buy out of their own pocket.

Help with any cleaning, maintenance, repairs, etc. that is needed.  

Do a prayer walk around the schools in your area (obviously not when school in session).

10. Pray over your volunteers.

Take time each week to pray with your volunteers before they serve.  Whatever it takes to make it happen...do it.  Those 5 minutes will set the tone for their serving experience and will bring God's blessings and power upon your team.

Your turn. What else are you doing to prepare for the fall ministry season?  Share your thoughts and insights in the comment section below.