Getting Ready for Fall: 7 Steps to Success

Yes, it’s currently blazing hot in most parts of the country. But fall will be here before we know it, and with cooler weather comes an attendance surge for most churches. Families are returning from vacation, people are getting back into routines, and church parking lots and pews are fuller than they were during summer. At our church, we typically see a 30-35% attendance bump from the end of July to mid-August (there was one year that it hit 52%!).

So how can you take advantage of the next few weeks in order to be prepared for the influx of guests? Here are seven ways:

Refresh your volunteer training. 

Go back to the basics with your current vols. Remind them why your team exists. Whether you’re meeting with them in person or sending out text / email updates, spend a few minutes over the next few weekends helping them get their heads back in the game. [Related post: Need an Inexpensive Option for Team Training?]


Invite new people to serve. 

New guests mean new opportunities for your members to step up their game. Invite all of your current vols to shoulder-tap their friends. If your attendance numbers bump by 1/3 like ours, make it a personal goal to bump your volunteer numbers by the same. [Related post: 20 Ways to Get More Volunteers]


Review your systems. 

Sure, you remember last Easter or fall when a lot of people showed up and you had to seat them in the lobby or park them at the business down the street. But now, how will you prepare based on what you know? Now is the time to pull out the playbook and talk to your team about what will happen when (not if) additional space is required (and please, let’s not call it overflow. That’s what toilets do.) [Related post:10 Ways to Make Your Seating Team More Effective]


Practice your language.

How will you greet your guests when they arrive? Sure, you may cover this with your volunteers…but what about the people on stage? How will your worship leader encourage people to scoot in once worship has already started? How will your lead pastor greet the throngs, acknowledge the bump, and invite them back? How will your announcement guy give practical next steps? [Related post: Six Times to Talk to Your Guests]


Check your supplies. 

Do you have enough first time guest gifts? Worship guides? Information cards? Communion cups? Now is the time to order them. [Related post: First Time Guest Bags: An Intro]


Clean it up.

Don’t neglect your facility or your parking lot. Take a minute to walk around this week and spot what needs to be fixed or freshened up: remove those VBS posters. Weed that flower bed. Windex that lobby door. [Related post: Pick Up Your Junk]



This isn’t the last resort, but the first. If we believe for a moment that the guest experience rises and falls on a clean facility and well-trained volunteers, we deceive ourselves. No, we must pray for the Holy Spirit to compel people to come, to open their eyes to the gospel, and to woo them into a relationship with Jesus. [Related post: Is Your Guest Service Team in a State of Desperation?]

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Danny Franks

Danny Franks

Danny Franks makes his living as a Connections Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He also makes a life as the husband of an out-of-his-league hottie and the dad of three cool sons and one sweet princess. His blog,, is a reflection of how he interacts with all of these.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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