How To Keep Your Church Attendance Alive This Summer
By: Vanderbloemen August 2, 2013
The dog days of summer have arrived and you may feel that your church attendance is lacking as you look out into the pews each Sunday morning. Sun-kissed faces are staring back at you, as increasing numbers of seats seem to be empty as the weeks move on. Family vacations and reunions are in full swing and travel is at an all time high. More and more latecomers lag in just in time for your message each week.
So what can you do as a pastor, as a staff, and as a church to keep the energy alive during the summer weekends and fuel your church attendance at the same time?
It’s been our observation that some churches have maintained momentum during the Summer months, while others struggle to keep their church community engaged during the busy season. Worse, some church staffs have created and allowed a summer culture in their congregation that is not only apathetic but lackadaisical regarding summer church attendance.
I would like to offer a few ideas that I have seen successful churches do to not only engage the mind and encourage the family, but also put the “fun” back in church.
1. Offer a weekly Bible study that is designed for the family of all ages.
Specifically create it to be a different experience than your normal fall and spring studies or groups. For example, if you normally do a video teaching series in small groups, try to offer a live teaching segment. Consider marking each week with a theme (i.e. Hawaiian luau, Texas BBQ, Sports fanatics, beach, carnival, or fair). If you don’t already, offer a small meal with your study just for the summer to encourage community and deepen relationships.
2. Mix it up with guest teachers.
Summer is a great time to bring in fresh, outside talent. It not only allows the regular pastoral teaching staff a much-needed break but offers fresh insight to those who regularly attend. Summer is also a great developmental opportunity to train up new teachers from within your walls. Identify possible church leaders with teaching gifts and give them an occasion to use them. You never know how God will develop the gifts of others when they are empowered and equipped!
3. Maximize the holidays!
There is a special holiday almost every month of the summer starting in May. May is Mother’s Day, June has Father’s Day, and July has Independence Day. Just a few weeks later is Labor day in September. Utilize these special days and program something unique to encourage an increase in church attendance. Give your families a special reason to come each weekend and avoid planning a weekend away. Compel them to bring some friends along, and you have created an effective evangelistic opportunity as well.
4. Start a new tradition.
Some churches have a special summer baptism that has become an annual tradition. Others organize an all-church family picnic that provides a refreshing time of fun and community. Serve your community through Habitat for Humanity, a soup kitchen, or local mission. Whatever you decide, make it impactful for all those who are a part of it. Remember that sometimes the best traditions start on accident.
5. Be intentional and plan ahead.
Gather a team in the spring of the key players in your summer programming and begin to brainstorm the ideas you would like to do to increase momentum leading into the summer months. Let this meeting be all about “blue sky” thinking. If time, money, and people power were unlimited, what would you dream up? How would your church and the community be impacted?
How has your church inspired its community to engage over the busy summer months? Share your ideas to increase summer church attendance with us here!