Summer Bible Reading Plans – for kids and adults!
Launching a Summer Reading Challenge in Your Church
Staying connected and remaining in God’s Word can be surprisingly tough in the summer. People’s lives and schedules are busy, and church attendance is often lower during summer months. Between family travel plans and other obligations, the summer months can seem just as busy – or even busier – than the rest of the year.
Although almost everyone has easy access to the Bible these days – it’s available on our phones, on computers and, of course, in physical form – many Christians struggle with maintaining the daily habit of reading God’s Word. Reading the Bible is a great way to remain in God’s Word and to set aside time for him and your faith development throughout the summer.
So, your church may want to consider hosting a Summer Bible Reading Challenge this summer, just as many community libraries do! Setting up a challenge is a terrific way to engage with adults, youth and children during the summer months while also encouraging the good habit of always staying strong through God’s holy Scriptures.
Running the Race Bible Reading Plans
Life – and exercise – move at different paces for different people. Some enjoy leisurely walks, strolls or rolls, while others speed-walk, jog or even sprint. Some people have a 26.2 sticker on their vehicle, indicating they’ve run a marathon, while others boast of running a half-marathon (13.1) or even no marathon (0.0).
Thankfully, you don’t have to be an athlete of any kind to run the Christian race.
The Bible uses running metaphors, however, to encourage followers of Jesus to train, focus, persevere and attain the heavenly prize.
At the bottom of this page are Bible Reading Plans based on the theme Running the Race. Use them to travel through Scripture this summer and to challenge yourself spiritually as you run the good race in your daily life.
STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR READING PLAN(S)
The first step is to choose a Bible Reading Plan for your church. You can choose one reading plan for everyone or provide separate plans for adults and young adults, and then a separate plan for children that uses a similar theme (as we provide in this blog).
Here are several things to consider when choosing a plan:
Is this reading plan achievable? If you choose a plan that requires one hour of Bible-reading each day, you may not get as many church members on board. Choosing a plan that is achievable for working parents and families’ busy schedules is always best.
Does this plan teach biblical truths? Look for plans that are scripturally sound and based on God’s truth, not material that twists sections of the Bible to fit a particular agenda or viewpoint.
Does this plan encourage readers? Although people all need to hear difficult messages sometimes, when you’re choosing a Bible Reading Plan for the congregation to read together, it’s best to select one that helps build up the entire community rather than tear it down.
After you’ve chosen a Bible Reading Plan, it’s time to get it into your members’ hands!
STEP 2: CREATE OR DOWNLOAD A BIBLE READING PLAN PRINT-OUT
Although many materials are available online these days, there’s just something about seeing and holding material on a piece of paper. That tangible guide really helps children and adults want to engage with a Bible Reading Plan – and also helps serve as a visual reminder.
When creating your reading plan, be sure it fits nicely on a standard 8½” x 11″ sheet of paper. That way it will easily fit into most Bibles when it’s folded in half.
If your Bible Reading Plan is lengthy, consider using a brochure-fold layout, with printing on both the back and the front. Allow for three full columns of Bible verses or chapters to read for each day.
Unless your church is completing a full 365-day, full-year reading plan, try to avoid using month and day dates for each daily reading. Instead, give each entry its own separate label, such as Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and so on. This allows anyone to start the plan at any time, without feeling as if they’re already behind.
Be sure to provide some way for the reader to check off or mark when they’ve completed each day’s reading. You can add little checkmarks in front of the day and Bible reading. Another option is to set up your reading printout in a Bingo-like box format, so people can place a sticker or cross out a square when they’re done with a day’s reading.
Finally, have fun with your Bible Reading Plan Challenge, and be creative! Engage your readers by sprucing up the Bible Reading Plan with fun clipart or illustrations that match your plan’s specific theme. Or you might want to use black-and-white clipart and then encourage children and adults alike to color in the illustrations for added enjoyment.
STEP 3: DISTRIBUTE YOUR SUMMER READING PLAN
Creating a page on your church’s website that’s dedicated to the Summer Reading Plan is a great and straightforward way to get the material into the hands of your members (and non-members too!). On that page, you can provide download links for readers to print the plan or save it to their phone or computer. Plus, with the internet you have more real estate than you would in an email, church bulletin or newsletter. So, you can explain the reading challenge, write recommendations about how to get started and express words of encouragement and support.
You may also want to set out several copies of the printed Summer Reading Plan in the church entryway or office. That way, members and visitors can easily grab them before or after worship services or classes.
Printing copies of the children’s Summer Reading Plan on cardstock paper – although a bit more expensive – will help these sheets last all summer long, especially for active kids!
STEP 4: ENCOURAGE MEMBERS
Keep in mind: When you’re launching a Summer Reading Program, the goal should always be spiritual encouragement, not guilt. Because the purpose is to help nurture a lifelong habit of reading God’s Word, be sure that the focus remains on helping one another overcome obstacles, not on making people feel bad if they miss a day (or five).
Your church may want to create a sign-up form where members can partner together to work through the reading plan. Another great option is to create a private Facebook page for challenge participants. It can serve as a safe space to ask questions, receive support, and engage with other members online.
For children, it’s always a good idea to establish smaller milestones within the Bible Reading Plan that can be celebrated with small rewards. One easy and fun way that we’ve had lots of success is asking parents to tell a children’s ministry staff member or volunteer that their child has reached a specific milestone. Then that volunteer can send a short 30-second to 1- minute video to the child, congratulating them for reaching that point. Parents report that when someone from church sends a video that speaks directly to a child and uses their name, young faces really light up, and children are then encouraged to keep going. Mailing or handing out stickers, Arch Books Bible Stories, or small items such as glow necklaces are also fun rewards for when children achieve milestones along the way.
About Our Bible Reading Plans
Some reading plans just aren’t practical for the realities of summer. They often set out goals that aren’t realistic for most people, such as trying to read through the entire Bible or even an entire testament in just three months.
That is why we’ve created Summer Reading Plans that allow for ample flexibility. Reaching the “finish line” is achievable for everyone, which means parents, children, teens, and other adults don’t get frustrated or constantly feel guilty that they’re “behind” schedule.
When producing a reading plan, we initially thought about creating a plan for 30 days.
However, we opted instead to create one that’s 26.2 days long – to match the distance number in a marathon! This also allows for a few grace days within the month or during the summer weeks.
Summer Bible Reading Plan for Children
We’ve selected Bible verses from both the Old Testament and New Testament books, including Bible verses from Deuteronomy, Psalm, Proverbs, John, Acts and Hebrews. These Scripture verses are simple and easy to read, and they take kids on a journey through the Bible while revealing the great big-picture story of Running the Race as a Christian. Children can use this Summer Reading Plan to build spiritual strength by growing closer to Jesus, God’s Son.
The children’s Bible Reading Plan consists of 27 different reading squares. Each square lists a small section of Scripture to read and then provides a question, activity or prayer that corresponds with that Bible verse or passage.
To get started, download the plan (below), and choose your reading pace with your child or children. Younger kids may need a slower pace than older kids, so be sure to pick a pace that works best for your family’s specific needs. Kids can complete one square each day or every other day (or even once a week, if you wish to spread out the Bible Reading Plan further than just over the summer).
Next, choose which Bible version you wish to read from. We recommend NIV (New International Version) or ESV (English Standard Version) for children, which is a slightly easier Bible translation for readers of all ages to understand in plain English.
Finally, after deciding on your pace and Bible version, set aside a consistent time to complete your run through these Scriptures each day or week. Set an alarm on your phone or even schedule regular “appointments” with God in your calendar.
When each child reaches the finish line, they can start over again for more practice. If you plan to repeat the Bible Reading Plan a few times during the summer, try choosing a different translation each time!
You can even invite a friend or family member to take the joyful journey with you.
Summer Bible Reading Plan for Adults
In this reading plan, you will journey through significant chunks of several New Testament Epistle books this summer.
After reading the suggested Scripture passage that is listed on each square, you can complete the question, activity or prayer that is also provided. This combination of themed resources will help you faithfully train in your run as a follower of Jesus.
First, set your individual pace. You may choose to complete one square each day or every other day. Just keep in mind your other plans for the summer and consider what is reasonable to achieve.
Once you’ve set your pace, next choose which Bible translation to read from. Our personal favorites are ESV (English Standard Version) and NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) because both are more literal translations yet easy to read and understand. You might even want to challenge yourself to go through this Bible Reading Plan three times this summer, each time using a different Bible translation.
After choosing your pace and Bible version, next set a dedicated time in your day to do your reading and “running.” This may be early each morning with a cup of coffee or tea before the busy day begins. Or evenings may work better for you, as you unwind your mind and refresh your soul before heading to bed. To create a good, lasting habit, it is always best to choose a certain time, schedule it in your calendar and then remind yourself to stick with it.
Running is often more fun with a running partner, so we encourage you to invite a friend or family member to join you as you read this excellent Bible Reading Plan for summer strengthening.
Download the FREE Bible Reading Plans
Each Bible Reading Plan features 26.2 days of daily reading suggestions, perfect for completing in one month with a few grace days to spare.
Click the links below to download the Free Bible Reading Plans in PDF or Microsoft Publisher file formats.
The PDF version is ideal to use as it is, while the Microsoft Publisher files allow you to add your own church information or change the title to match the name of your church’s summer reading program.
Print out as many copies as you’d like. Don’t forget: These free Bible Reading Plans are perfect for sharing!
For additional Bible-based activity sheets, story guides and more, give Children’s Worship Bulletins a try.
Children's Bulletins Team
Over the years of publication Children’s Worship Bulletins has had many contributing authors and editors. This team has worked diligently to thoughtfully craft material to assist in creating meaningful children’s worship materials.