Six Ways to Beat the Summer Slump

Summer often means vacation time and travel for many church members. It also means lower attendance and participation numbers in many churches.

While you’ll likely experience some summer lull, you can help minimize this by utilizing one or more of these tips for engaging your church members this summer.

  1. Create a weekly prayer emphasis. Summer is a busy time for most student ministries and children’s ministries. You likely have camps, mission trips, and Vacation Bible School going throughout the summer. Highlight these events with a weekly prayer emphasis spotlight in the service and in your church newsletter.
  2. Report on the results of your summer activities. After your church has prayed for an event, be sure to celebrate how God answered those prayers. These reports can help carry ministry momentum through the summer into the fall when you kick things off again.
  3. Consider hosting special events each month and emphasize inviting others. Maybe you have a potluck at church or an ice cream social at a local park. Outside, summer-themed events can easily be used to invite friends and neighbors to church-related events.
  4. Participate in summer community events. Nearly every town in America does something for July 4 (or July 1 for our Canadian readers). It’s great that some churches have the resources to host a community celebration, but 99% can’t. If you’re in the 99%, make an attempt to be involved in the local community gathering this summer.
  5. Try something new. Use the summer as a test kitchen for something you’d like to implement on an ongoing basis. Maybe it’s a a more casual dress code or style change. Maybe it’s some new songs or stage setup. By telling your congregation that it’s only for the summer, you’ll have more acceptance of something new. I wouldn’t necessarily use the summer to change something core to the identity of the church. Start with fringe ideas and work toward bigger change down the road.
  6. Focus on social media. Because the summer is typically busier, use social media to keep the congregation updated. Next week, I’ll focus more on this item, but brainstorm a few creative uses for Instagram, Facebook Live, Twitter, and blogs for your church to try out.

Summer doesn’t have to be a dry spell in a church. In many instances, it’s the busiest part of the year. Use that to your advantage and keep the momentum going.

What else would you add to this list?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Howe

Jonathan Howe serves as vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee. He oversee all SBC Executive Committee communications including SBC.net, SBC LIFE, Baptist Press, social media initiatives and other media and messaging strategies. Howe was formerly the Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

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Turning the Summer Slump into a Summer Hump

There’s just something about summer that makes our hearts and minds swell with its endless possibilities. Both school and the sun are out – and calendars seem to beg for adventure and change of pace. Families want to take advantage of the bounty that the warm weather brings and maximize their time together unencumbered by the (over-)scheduling of the rest of the year.

But between vacations, family reunions and other summertime activities, many churches can lose their momentum and sense of community.

ENTER: The dreaded “summer slump.”

It happens every year, and every church leader knows exactly what summer slump means: a drop in attendance, decreased participation, and reduced giving. Your church gains great momentum coming out of Easter as lives are changed, and your attendance is at an all-time high.

But then Memorial Day creeps up. Your attendance plummets, giving is down, and congregants just aren’t as connected to your mission, ministry or even to one another as they were just weeks ago.

The summer slump has begun.

According to Lifeway, average Sunday morning attendance drops by 23 percent in June and 34 percent in July – and in many churches, this ‘slump’ can last through Labor Day weekend.

This can be disheartening to a church leader when faced with the annual prospect of having to make progress toward the vision with fewer people and less money.

To combat the dreaded slump, churches just have to be willing to get a little creative. So here are three articles you may have missed that may inspire you to approach the summer slump with a renewed spirit.

Say Goodbye to The Summer Giving Slump: “You can pray about it and hope for the best, or you can pray about it and develop a plan to overcome it. If you’re interested in the second approach, here are some practical ideas for cultivating more consistent generosity during the ‘dog days.’”

4 Ideas to Keep Small Groups Thriving This Summer: “Before your church gives up on maintaining a thriving small group ministry during the summer, here are four ideas you could pass along to your leaders to keep the momentum going.”

Three Things Your Church Can Do Today to Prepare for Summer Giving: “Don’t allow summer to be a stressful season for your church. Instead, consider how these three ideas can help your church create incredible momentum for your fall kickoff and the new church year.”

So if you’re tired of dealing with summer slumps – and really, who isn’t? – consider implementing any one of these ideas this summer to see how they can serve you and your church well during the dog days of summer.


> Read more from Church Community Builder.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Church Community Builder

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.