Pastors and church leaders often talk about the “summer slump.”
Even during a normal summer, when we’re not in a pandemic, there is a different flow in the lives of people.
School is out. The weather is nice. Days are longer. Pools, lakes, sports and vacations become a regular part of people’s lives. For the church, conversations about church attendance often come with the disclaimer, “well, during the summer we only have…”
But for many of these same reasons, the church can maximize during the summer months. Not everyone takes a vacation at the same time. There are still new people to be reached. There are ways to maximize the summer months and even build momentum going into the fall.
This summer adds another bonus of the fact that world is beginning to fully open back up after a crazy fifteen months.
Here are seven thoughts for keeping the momentum up:
Don’t Be Negative
Leaders often create a sense of the summer slump by focusing on it. Build up each Sunday during the summer. Don’t highlight the fact that several people are away. As much as possible, use language to build a culture of great ministry and momentum during the summer months. Encourage faithful attendance and giving. Celebrate the positive things going on!
Shorten The Summer
Do your best to keep the regular worship components and ministry moving forward with momentum through early to mid-June. Then kick off the fall in mid-August. Most schools begin in mid-August and people are already getting back to the routine. Too often, the church waits until after Labor Day and by then, families feel like they have already been in the flow for three or four weeks.
Be Visible In The Community
Summer offers some great opportunities to be visible in the community. March in a community parade. Set up a booth in the community homecoming. Send a volunteer team to help paint inside the local school or to spruce up the grounds. Create t-shirts and designate a few specific days for the church family to wear them around the community. Volunteer to give away refreshments in a local park during games a couple Saturday mornings. Figure out ways to shine in the community! One thing our church is doing this summer is hosting Messiah’s Mansion Lifesize Tabernacle for a week!
Have Some Fun In Planning
Can you bring in a special group for music at your church some Sunday? is there a special speaker you can invite? Why not plan a simple, lighthearted message series? Schedule testimonies from members of the congregation during the summer. Have some fun thinking of something new to try this summer!
Capitalize On Short-Term Community Groups
Summer is a great time to meet and welcome new people and to work on assimilating them. Short-term community groups can be set a million different ways, so why not give it a try? Existing classes and groups can be encouraged to host a special series to invite new people. New groups might be created and centered around neighborhoods or communities. A summer weekday Bible study or prayer group could be hosted. A summer men’s ministry event could be a good start to more effective ministry in the school year. You might set up special community groups around an interest – such as music or outdoor ministry. These community groups can also work well with the next generation – special one-day outings for kids groups or student ministry. Encourage students to be involved in weekly community small groups.
Create Fellowship Times
The summer is a great time to have a church picnic, concert in the park, or ice cream social outdoors. It’s also a great season to throw a thank-you party for various groups in your church – the children’s ministry volunteers, the worship team or choir, or the volunteer lawn care team. There are lots of ways to host fellowship events and summer makes it really easy with cookouts, the lake or a pool at someone’s home. Get a date on the calendar and invite someone to coordinate it.
Invest In Personal Renewal
When the leader gets better, everyone wins. When we are taking good care of our own spiritual, physical and emotional lives, the whole church benefits. Plan now for your summer vacation and sabbath time. Plan some downtime. Carve out space in your calendar for more informal time with church members. Visit a couple other churches on your Sundays off. Attend a conference or camp where you are inspired by great preaching. Take part in a mission trip. Get family time on your calendar. Sharpen some of your routines and disciplines as you head into the fall.
I write with church leaders in mind and I would be honored to have you join me by subscribing to the blog. You can take a look at the top posts here. The posts are categorized: pastors, worship leaders, student ministry and kids ministry. In case we’re just meeting, here’s little about my life and about short-term ministry leader coaching I offer.