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.

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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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