Three years ago our congregation started a Summer Reading Club. Each summer the reading has been different passages, but it has always been uplifting and insightful. The first summer we had 30 kids complete the entire New Testament. Last summer we had 63 kids complete the Psalms and Proverbs. This summer we had 117 kids sign-up to read the Gospels.
This summer we also added the feature to invite the community. We had 4 days where community members could come sign-up. They each received a Bible donated from Mardel and a bookmark. Each participant received a reading schedule, calendar, bookmark and log sheet. We had about a dozen people see the articles in the local newspapers or read it on the local Christian radio website or see it on our marquee in front of the building. The best outreach was when we gave each kid in the congregation 3 fliers to hand-out to their friends to read along with them. We had about a dozen "friends" sign-up this year.
Each summer we have also had a fun theme. Year one was "Dive into God's Word." Each child had a sea creature name plate that moved down the bulletin board towards a treasure chest. Last year was "Blast into God's Word." The name plates were fire crackers moving up towards a big fireworks display that we painted on the board with glitter glue. This year is "Wild About God's Word." The kids chose an animal (from mini notepads at the Teacher Store) to move across the board.
Every 15 chapters that the kids read they move to the next level and get a prize. All the prizes came from Oriental Trader and most are animal/jungle themed. If they complete all the Gospels, then they will receive an engraved medal at the Awards Ice Cream party in August. The other years we have had it after Sunday PM services, but this year we are going to have it on a Saturday night because school starts the next Monday morning.
To make your schedule, first pick the chuck of scripture to read. Then choose your date time spam. We usually start Memorial Day and end on Labor Day. Then divide the text so that each day has an equal number of verses - which is usually about 1-2 chapters a day.
We also encourage the whole family to participate. We have the adults sign-up too, but they do not get trinket prizes. :)
This program has doubled in size every summer. It has been a wonderful way to get the kids reading or listening to the Bible. They are motivated and excited about God's Word. It also has provided a way for families to study the Bible together... which may be the best result of the program!
If you want more info or start your own Summer Reading Club at your church, let us know. We are hoping to start a website for this ministry and want to include the other churches participating. So far we have one in DFW, one is Sonora and one in Pasadena, TX. Let's add your congregation to the list too!