Summer programming is dedicated to Sunday morning small groups, Special Sundays (National Ice Cream Day is July 17, so we have reserved an ice cream truck for after services), and onramp family events like the Tall Small Archery Party. With the weekly Thursday drive-ins in June, July extends an invitation to ‘come on in’ beyond a Sunday and here are a few reasons why:
– New families want to experience life and faith together.
– Current families want to bump elbows with new families.
– Faith formation experiences outside Sundays says we honor your profession and family which calls one or more parents to work on Sundays (retail, medical, hospitality, law enforcement fields, etc.)

Coming from “What’s in my hand?”, our staff includes a great dad who is an archery coach for a private school, Shaun Nguyen. Coach Shaun began his interest in archery on a mission trip almost ten years ago. He applied for a grant to purchase all the equipment and his team now competes. I invited him to ‘set the table’ for smalls with their talls who love them as part of our Soul Food Summer campaign.

Promotional: Tall/Small Archery Party is for children kindergarten and older (small) with an adult who loves them (tall) on Thursday, July 7, 6-7:30pm in the Gym.  Register online. Sponsored by McEachern Kids

We set out snacks which ended up ‘for the road’ because they didn’t want to stop.

We used a QR code on a stand-up sign for check-in rather than a paper sign-in and it was fantastic. For anyone who had not signed in at the June drive-ins, we now could capture their information all inputted by the tall. Smalls wrote name tags for themselves and their tall, which gave everyone something to do as we waited to enter the gym enmasse to begin the teaching piece.

Coach Shaun took 15-20 minutes to introduce himself, teach vocabulary, equipment, and safety. With mom/day/grand right there, each little had their own personal coach when it was time to hit the line with their equipment.

Littles AND bigs took turns learning together, using only fingertips to pull back the strings, chatting, and encouraging one another. With an element of danger, everyone was paying lots of attention and the frowns of “I can’t do it” soon transitioned to hearing the thud of hitting the target. They stayed and talked each other through it. Just like families do.

At 7:05pm, we stopped for a 10-minute break and I shared a younger version of the sin talk, we prayed, and hit the line again with Coach Shaun attaching balloons to the targets this time.

Next time we’ll go until 8pm since we went a little long. We sent them on their way with a blessing and two gifts: (1) a child’s book on The Lord’s Prayer, and (2) faith conversation cards to share at their tables as they continue to enjoy a Soul Food Summer wherever they are.

This was one of the best events and we hit the target on all goals, all levels of hospitality, and with 11 families, we had lots of elbow-bumping to make new friends. Follow-up is the roll-out of a new Sunday school curriculum which has a fantastic parenting piece families can access on their phones, National Ice Cream Sunday for a free ice cream truck after church, and a Tall Small Paint Party on the last Thursday of the July.

“For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” Psalm 122:8