Making The Most Of Summer | The Salvation Army

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Making The Most Of Summer

Posted November 30, 2021

We know that corps all over New Zealand are facing some difficult decisions in the coming weeks as the Traffic Light System rolls out. We acknowledge the strong emotions that leaders, volunteers, and congregations will feel as we all work to balance inclusivity and safety. 

Whether your corps decides to operate services as vaccinated or unvaccinated, we know that love for Christ and love for each other lies at the heart of your decision making.

We also know that after years of adapting and innovating because of covid, leaders and volunteers all over the world are tired and struggling to find new ways to encourage fellowship and connection. Leaders in our territory probably feel that more so as we wrap up for Christmas and begin to plan for the new year. 

Please know that all you have done in this pandemic has been greatly appreciated and made a tremendous difference to the lives of those around you. 

With summer fast approaching, the Children’s Mission have seven suggestions for inclusive fellowship and spiritual growth while the weather is fine. These ideas take advantage of the sun and fresh air, allowing participants to attend no matter their vaccination status or the personal precautions they wish to take.

Pack your sunscreen and hand sanitiser and check out these great ways to connect your people away from your church auditorium!

Church Picnic

A church picnic is an easy intergenerational activity. Families can bring their own picnic blankets, folding chairs, and lunch. It’s easy for families to maintain the 1m distancing required under Green and Orange, and a registration requirement can cap attendees to suit Green or Orange. With the addition of a generator, a speaker and microphone (or just a good set of lungs), you can share a message and worship too.


Prayer Walking Bus

Prayer groups can operate under any traffic light setting as long as numbers are capped for the traffic light your region is in at the time with restricted numbers. While the weather is good, why not make your prayer group a walking bus. Invite God to move in your community as you explore its neighbourhoods. Maybe you could choose a route that passes schools and education centres calling a blessing on each as you pass their gates?


Carolling Teams

Many of us need the peace and joy that Christmas time brings this year. We need the hope of the Christ child as we approach 2022. Break into small musical (or just enthusiastic) ensembles and surprise some of your congregation by singing carols to them from their driveway or front lawn. You might prioritise visiting those who have been especially isolated during lockdown, or those who are facing Christmas alone. Remember to keep distanced within your group, stand well back from your recipients’ doors (especially if you are visiting anyone elderly or immunocompromised), and keep a record of who you visited.

Parents in the Park

Parenting has been tough during covid – especially for those who’ve been in prolonged lockdowns. There are likely to be parents in need of support who feel it’s unsafe for their families to return to indoor in-person gatherings regardless of the traffic light their region is in.  Why not try a socially distanced park playgroup? Or a mums and bubs stroll through your local botanic garden?

Outdoor Movie Theatre

Many corps have offered alpha groups, parenting courses and bible studies via zoom over the past two years. If you are looking at offering a small group or a course which includes pre-recorded video content, consider running it in an outdoor theatre. Set up a projector, screen, and speakers outdoors; and ask attendees can bring their own chair or blanket and snacks. You can show the recorded content on the big screen and enjoy face to face discussion for a change. Remember to maintain 1m distancing and to keep within the gathering restrictions for the traffic light your region is in.

Carpark Messy Church

This idea works best in a flat outdoor environment like a carpark or a large lawn. If you choose to do this in your carpark, please ensure vehicle access is clearly and safely blocked off, and there is alternate parking available for those who need it.

Set up tables with activity packs in your carpark, one table per family. Share a message, some worship and do some crafts together outdoors and socially distanced. But be aware of the breeze when planning your craft. A registration requirement will mean that you won’t exceed the restrictions for whichever traffic light your region is in.

Theatre Troop

Take your nativity play or Sunday morning skit on the road. Similar to carolling teams, a small acting group with a makeshift stage can perform in driveways, parks, even at the beach with a socially distanced audience. As always make sure you comply with the traffic light restrictions your region is in and keep a record of the homes or places you performed.


These suggestions have been developed in line with our current understanding of the Traffic Light System. As the government releases more information and adapts to the ever-changing covid-19 situation, some of these ideas may no longer be suitable. Please ensure that you check the most up to date guidelines at before having these events and gatherings.