Holiday Club Top Tips
Holiday clubs give us the opportunity to make contact with people who would never usually set foot in a church building, help establish and build relationships with the local community, and impact many with the good news of Jesus.
The summer holiday club is a key event in many church calendars. Meticulous planning of these events often begins as the Christmas and new-year evangelism work ends.
Why run a holiday club?
Psalm 145v4 says, “One generation will commend your works to another, they will tell of your mighty acts”.
Isn’t it exciting to think that on our church doorsteps are communities waiting to be reached with the Gospel! As Psalm 145 reminds us, children and families work should be an integral part of this evangelism.
Running holiday clubs for these groups provides us with brilliant and unique opportunities to build relationships – and not just outwardly, but also inwardly as holiday clubs bring together all the different ages in church and helps us work more closely together. We have the chance to train and disciple leaders in children’s work, and other areas too such as craft and administration. This includes teenagers who are willing to serve and learn.
And crucially, we can provide an exciting, safe and loving environment, where children can grow in confidence and in understanding the gospel.
What does a Holiday Club ‘look like’?
Holiday Clubs can vary in length, from a couple of mornings to a full week and vary in themes e.g. jungle, space or sport. Central and consistent in all clubs should be the Bible teaching which can be consolidated through the rest of the programme – which may consist of songs, storytelling, drama, memory verses, video clips, craft, games and more.
Where do we start with planning a holiday club?
Several months before, gather together a small team of people with a range of gifts and ask them to be responsible for planning the club. This group will need to prayerfully consider and define the specific aims for your club, such as:
- To present the gospel to children who have never really heard it.
- To launch a new regular children’s group in your community.
- To attract new children to join your church’s Sunday groups or midweek activities.
- To provide an opportunity for children to make a commitment to Christ.
- To encourage the children in your church groups to be reaching out to their friends.
- To develop your relationships with families connected in some way to the church.
The planning group will also need to consider early on:
- Who the holiday club is aimed at: pre-school, primary or secondary aged kids.
- When will the holiday club take place. Setting and advertising the date well in advance enables ample time to pray, recruit volunteers who might need to book annual leave, and promote the event. Don’t forget to check it doesn’t clash with anything important - either within the church or locally.
- Where the event will be held. It could be in your church, on the local housing estate, school or in a local community centre?
- How it fits in within the church’s vision and programme. Chat to your church leadership about your aims and check that they are in support of the event.
Other things to consider
Team: Recruiting leaders is crucial! Start this process as soon as possible and check the church’s policy on CRB checks for volunteers. Consider asking people who are not usually involved in your children/youth programme. It is worth noting down people’s gifting and interest when they sign up, this will help later on when delegating roles and responsibilities.
Plan ‘team times’ in the lead up to the club so the leaders can be familiarised with the programme, Bible passages, aims for each day and any policies (child protection, health & safety, discipline, etc.). It’s a good idea to hold a couple of prayer and training evenings for the team so that they have time to pray, explore the programme and maybe go through some practical training points. This allows people to know what they are doing and what is expected of them.
Taking Care afterwards: Make sure you set aside time to evaluate and consider if your original aims were met. If not, assess why not and also jot down what worked well and why. Feedback from parents and team members is also helpful.
Keep your database of attendees and write to unchurched families, reminding them about other up-coming events or regular church-based clubs. A photo display for the congregation will encourage those who’ve prayed and may even inspire some to be involved next time! And finally, say “thank you”. Make sure volunteers know how appreciated they are.
This article was first published in our Spring 2012 edition of Together magazine.