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Summer programs create lasting memories and foster valuable friendships. For many children and youth, these programs may be their first experience with church. We've compiled our best ideas for Vacation Bible School, summer ministries, retreats and simple ways to have fun with young people -- and the young at heart.

Image of boy from youth group at First United Methodist Church, Chestertown, Maryland, planting the community garden, courtesy First United Methodist Church; illustration by Laurens Glass for United Methodist Communications.

Draw more than bees with a community garden

A garden offers a great opportunity to nourish the community with both food and care. Stake your claim now. Read More

8 last-minute ideas to promote VBS

How can churches compete against all the choices for summer entertainment? Check out these last-minute ways to promote and garner interest in your VBS. Read More

Challye Hays laughs with children as they play corn hole in the gym during the Project Transformation Family Fun Night at Antioch United Methodist Church. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Inspire youth with a summer ‘staycation’

Turn the "staycation" concept on its ear by hosting one for middle and high school students. Read More

Allegheny students sort through garbage to promote the college’s “One Less Cup” campaign, which encourages reusable takeout containers. Allegheny College is a United Methodist affiliated college in Meadville, Pa. Photo by Bill Owen for Allegheny College. Cropped from original size.

7 Out-of-the-box college outreach ideas

You don't need high-powered contemporary worship. Offering free laundry and midnight breakfasts are just two ideas to connect with college students. Come think outside the box with us! Read More

5 ways to connect with college students during the summer

The key to connecting with college students is meeting them where they are in their life and helping them connect their life with their faith in God. Read More

How to do church farmers market outreach

Over the last ten years, farmers markets have more than doubled across the country. Churches have a great opportunity to minister to both farmers and shoppers. Learn how. Read More

New Day United Methodist Church in Big Lake, Minnesota, promoted Imagine No Malaria at the town’s Spud Fest Parade. Photo courtesy of New Day United Methodist Church.

Fun summer ministry ideas

Here is a smattering of ideas that just might inspire you to experience a little summer fun in your congregation, community and connection! Read More

Image of the Dining Hall at Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark. Photo by Jonathan B. Auerbach.

Summer retreat ideas: United Methodist camps and programs

Ministry's great minds often take learning vacations together during the summer. Research and find a camp, Christian retreat center or Chautauqua near you. Read More

Plan a retreat for your ministry staff

Does your ministry staff take time away from the church building to refocus and re-energize? Perhaps it is time for everyone to get away on a staff retreat. Here are... Read More

Summer camp photo courtesy of the Lithuania Summer Camp.

Support camps for children around the world

The United Methodist Church supports camps for children who might not otherwise get to attend. Your church can support one of these programs. Search "camps" on Global Ministries for list. Read More

4 creative summer sermon/lesson ideas

Summer is a great time to try something different and fun with sermons and lessons. Here are several ideas to keep things fresh this summer. Read More

3 ideas for connecting with your community this summer

It is time to think seriously about summer! Now is a great time to do some out-of-the-box outreach. Here are three great ideas to inspire you to try something new... Read More

Photo of empty church pews. Pixabay 1398784. Photo by Milt Ritter, Pixabay,  CC0 Public Domain.

Stop singing the summer attendance blues

As the mercury rises, the number of feet bounding through your church's doors decreases. Here are some ways to encourage summer worship. Read More

Vacations, warm weather and other summertime activities can distract even the most ardent churchgoers. Image by Steve Bidmead, Pixabay.com. CC0 Public Domain.

Heat up lukewarm summer attendance

Every pastor knows what happens to church attendance in the summer. The nicer the weather, the emptier the pews. Read More