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/ 8 October 2019

Holiday club how to

This summer, Katie O’Conor visited some different holiday clubs across the Diocese, seeing the diverse range of ministries taking place. So, if you’ve read Katie’s article all about her tour and are interested in exploring the idea further for your own church, then here are some tips to get you started. It might seem a bit soon to be planning for 2020, but you can never start too early!

Make some big decisions

First of all, decide what you want the club to do for your church and community. There are lots of possible aims you might have for your club: to reach out to children in your parish; to disciple the children already part of your congregation; to be a project on which all the churches in your area can work together; to develop the different skills and gifts of the leaders in your team.

Whatever aim you choose, try to get as wide a buy-in as you can. The long-term impact of a club will be greater if your church leadership are involved and the club forms part of the parish’s mission plan as a whole.

Decide what material you want to cover

Your choice of biblical material will be influenced by your overall aim. If you are looking to introduce Jesus to children and families who may never have heard of him, then stories of Jesus from the Gospels are likely to be the best choice. If you’re hoping to follow up some work you have done in your local primary school, then you might want to use the same (or connected) stories as the ones you explored in school. If your club is forming part of a wider summer outreach run by the church, then you might choose to cover the same Bible stories in each aspect of that outreach.

Choose a theme and programme

Holiday clubs usually have fun themes to hang the faith development material on, such as space, a circus, backpacking or spies. Having a theme means you can decorate your meeting space in an inviting way, create costumes for volunteers and children alike, as well as creating themed craft, games and songs.

You might choose to write your own programme, as the churches in Muswell Hill did in Katie’s article. I’ve written quite a few holiday-club programmes in my time, and it takes a lot of work. If you don’t have the time or skills to do it yourself, then you can buy a resource which will give you the framework, ideas and activities that you can adapt to fit your aim. The added bonus with published resources is that often they have elements, such as films or songs, that you might struggle to produce yourself.

Choose your venue

Your venue will dictate how many children you can welcome and what you can do. It might be that your church building is not the most appropriate choice in terms of facilities; perhaps there’s a community centre that’s a better fit, or your local school might be able to help you out. However, if one of your aims is to attract families who wouldn’t come to a Sunday service into your church, holding the club in your church means these families have a non-threatening reason to step over your threshold.

Recruit your volunteers

You can’t run a holiday club on your own; you need a team of volunteers to take on the various roles and responsibilities. You’ll need people to do the admin, people to be upfront presenters, people to lead small groups, people to provide refreshments… Not everybody has to do everything, so you can recruit people who might not normally do children’s work.

Your volunteers will dictate what you do in your club. If you don’t have people who like acting, you’ll want to avoiding doing any drama. If you’ve got people who like doing woodwork, you could try to incorporate that into your programme.

After all these stages, there’s still a lot of hard work to go, training your team, gathering resources, making sure you follow safeguarding, risk assessment and health and safety procedures… However, do these things and you’ll be well on the way. And we can help you with the rest! If you need some assistance, then email

About Alex Taylor

Alex Taylor has worked with the children and youth team to provide training and support churches. He is an experienced children's and youth worker and writer.

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