Three Ways to Fight the Summer Ministry Slump
Wouldn't it be great to beat the Summer Slump?
I have a statement I use once in a while when referring to Church attendance in the Summertime, and it goes like this: “Summer – Summer here and many are not.” Perhaps a bit of sarcasm involved with the statement, yet most of us who are in ministry find it to be a fact of life… attendance in Church during the Summer tends to go down. Perhaps you're in the minority in which attendance goes up, but rest assured, it is a minority. This brief article is for the rest of us. Here are Three Ways to Beat the Summer Slump.
What can we do, especially as leaders to convey the message to those we are entrusted to care for that we aren't giving up? Below are three ideas I wanted to share, and without a doubt, there are many more! I would love to hear your thoughts on how you make things work for your Church during the Summer.
Yes, there are far more than three ways to fight the Summer Slump but these are just a few that will help.
1. Keep Showing Up!
Perhaps this is beyond obvious, but when I say “keep showing up”, I'm not just referring to physical attendance. For most pastors and staff you have to show up because it's what keeps the paycheck coming in. While we would all love to say we don't do it for the paycheck, most likely, if our paycheck stopped showing up, there would be a reasonably good chance we would stop as well.
Keep showing up in “spirit” as well as physically. In other words, be there in such a way that people sense you are excited about being in Church when many others are camping, biking, hiking, beaching, ball playing, game-watching, and the list could go on and on!
Pastors don't have a “weekend” to kick back and relax!
As ministry leaders, we have a somewhat unique situation of not having a “weekend” to enjoy. While most have vacations, we can't just go away for the weekend like our people do because that's when we “have to” show up for Church!
Remember that every week, someone may be coming to Church that has looked forward to Church all week long as they have gone through trials that are far beyond their level of understanding. They need to spend time in God's presence with God's people as well as listening to a word from the Word that seems like it's just for them!
Galatians 6:9 New International Version (NIV) 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
2. Make a Plan!
I don't know who first made this statement, but with internet “research” it appears Benjamin Franklin was the first to say it, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” You can avoid the Summer Slump with just a bit of great planning!
Time marches on, and this will continue to happen until Jesus comes! It seems that the older you get, the time has a way of moving faster. We know time isn't actually moving more quickly. I'm sure there are many explanations for it beyond the standard “life is like a roll of toilet paper… the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!”
Summer arrives every year, and there's no excuse for it coming without us realizing it would happen! The Summer Slump can be real unless dealt with in advance!
Take time at the beginning of the year or at least in early Spring and make a plan for what will inevitably take place in just a few short months… Summer!
Keep having great services to beat the Summer Slump!
Of course, be sure to keep having Services where God is welcome to show up at any time in any way He wants to! Beyond that, many wonderful things can happen during the Summer that can't happen in the Winter. Those things are different depending on what area you are located, and that's why there's no “cookie cutter” approach to this.
We have something called “Summer Sunday Nights” and list ideas that will involve as many people as possible. One of the essentials we have found is that food needs to be involved in some form, even if it's just some basic munchies.
We had an event this past Sunday night called “Gaither Video Night.” While that may not be at the interest level for some churches, we have a growing population of Senior Citizens who love to get together to watch inspirational videos like this. Words were captioned and people were able to sing along to some of the “old songs” that have been foundational to their faith.
We had ice cream sundaes following the service, which served two purposes. It was a “cool” way to end the evening, but also people were able to sit and fellowship with each other.
Have a movie night with some of the great movies that have come out over the past few years. Be sure to get the necessary permissions instead of just popping a DVD in the player, but you will find your Community enjoys this!
3. Get into your Community!
One might say we already are in our Community! We are at (address) and if the people want to discover who we are, we meet every Sunday morning at (time)!
Well, one of the great things you can do is find ways to be a blessing to your Community in random tangible ways.
Gwinnett Church in Georgia created an incredible campaign on the word “FOR” and used it in a variety of ways to be a blessing to their Community. They developed the “FOR Gwinnett” campaign which has now blossomed all around the Country as many churches have captured the spirit of being a blessing proactively.
Our Church created magnets for the back of cars and encouraged people to find any way possible to be a blessing to those behind them, perhaps at a coffee or food drive through. Probably not a good idea for those with a heavy right foot, but then again, quite possibly it will help them be a bit accountable to the realization people are taking note of how they drive!
Random acts of kindness beat the Summer Slump!
One of the things we have found that has been a blessing is to get cases of cold drinks (Gatorade, Powerade) for the Fire Departments who experience not only the heat of Summer but also the heat of fires to put out! About once a month, we bless them with drinks, and they have often expressed their thankfulness.
We plan on having an Emergency Personnel Appreciation Day at the Church in the fall with a free dinner for all who show up. We believe the “seeds” planted during the Summer will have a way of becoming “fruit” in the fall!
What are some of the ways you bless your Community? Email: email@example.com and perhaps we will share them in future posts!
This article could go on and on, but the main idea we want to convey is this: “Don't give up!” Get involved in a proactive way, and you will be amazed at how God will bless your efforts. Remember this: “Little becomes much when you place it in the Master's hand.”
Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't mention the fact that good communication goes a long way in beating the Summer Slump. Not a member of our site? Join today for access to over 1,100 Church Letters and Welcomes!