Summer OFF is one of our largest, ongoing ministries. Think of Summer OFF as part outreach training, part VBS (outside, and a lot simpler) and part missions trip. It’s designed to be run by Christian teens, to equip them for outreach and give them a big vision of God’s kingdom work. And it's for adults too.
Summer OFF 2018
Dates: Summer OFF usually begins in early July and runs for six weeks. Dates for 2018 coming soon.
Cost: The church participation fee for Summer OFF (regardless of how many weeks) is $250. Some churches ask their team members to contribute to Summer OFF expenses. All craft, snack and supply expenses are paid by each church.
Activities: Each church plans their own activities for their week(s). The Philip Center will help you plan your week, acts as a laiason to the city and provide interns if you would like. Most teams inclulde crafts, sports and games, face paint, Bible stories and gospel presentations, and snacks. Some teams also include drama presentations, music, snow cone machines, cotton candy machines, and a Christmas in July party.
Register: The registration form for 2018 will be live by mid-November. Once you have registered and paid the church fee, we will schedule your church for a park. We will do our best to give you your first choice, but we ask you to indicate your top three choices of weeks and parks. The deadline for registration is April 30, 2018. You may send a check to The Philip Center, PO Box 6, Barrington, RI 02806, or you may pay conveniently and securely online here.
History of Summer OFF
On a hot July day, in 2009, a handful of us set up a folding table in a Park in Providence, RI — Dexter Park. We offered face painting and crafts, played a little soccer and shared the gospel with kids who came for the free city lunches. Maybe eight or ten kids were there. They had fun. We had fun. So we decided to come back the next day. They brought their friends, we played more soccer and gave out some juice packs. Then we all did it again. Except more kids came the third day. So we made a trip to Sam’s Club for more drinks and came back the fourth day. By the end of the week there were about 50 kids who wanted to play and listen to us share about Jesus. We didn’t do much planning that summer. This project developed very organically. But we were surprised by how responsive the kids were. So the next summer we came back, in partnership with Faith and Hope Baptist Church. We did it the week before their VBS, and while we played and ate snacks and talked about Jesus, we also invited them to VBS. That also seemed to work. So we’ve done it each summer since.
Reproducing Summer OFF
In 2013, we offered to 10 other Rhode Island churches (with LoveRI) the opportunity to lead one or two weeks of Summer OFF in Dexter Park or other parks in Providence. Eleven churches participated in the outreach with a lot of excitement and success.
Since then, a growing number of churches from Rhode Island, New Jersey, Virginia, Tenessee, Texas and beyond have joined in running their own Summer OFF programs. The Philip Center is working to continue to multiply Summer OFF around the country and even internationally.
Summer OFF and You
If you would like to run a similar project, the Philip Center can help you get started! Please contact us as soon as possible and we'll be glad to discuss this great outreach opportunity with you.