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 Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

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