Summertime, it brings such effervescent joys. Days are longer. There’s more time with family and sunshine. But in ministry it often brings seasonally low church attendance, too. And, if we’ve been in ministry long enough we have been anticipating these months. The lull in energy on Sundays in worship along with practical concerns make it a tough season for leaders.
Low Church Attendance: A Planning Puzzle
The drop in numbers can make things difficult. Coordinating activities for unknown numbers can be frustrating. Gathering volunteers for Sundays can feel like a gamble. We’ve written before about how hard it can be to plan for programs like summer Sunday School during these months. Planning how much coffee and food to put out between services… I mean, how many donut holes am I supposed to buy?!? Summer can be a planning puzzle.
No Rest for the Weary
Additionally, the difficulty isn’t only at the church. We often think summer is for downtime. However, in reality, summer can be just as chaotic as the rest of the year for those in our congregations. Vacations, house guests, kids’ camps and mission trips, home-improvement projects, sports, summer school, reading lists, child care scramble. And all this without jobs letting up for the adults in the house. There’s a lot to hold together!
A Shift in Focus
So, I wonder if we could begin to broaden our focus from low church attendance with this one question. How can we connect with each other, if connection isn’t as reliable on summer Sundays? Maybe those of us in leadership can begin dreaming of ways to care for our members in their busy lives. Perhaps there’s a sports game to attend for one of the youth. Maybe there are retired folks who’d love to babysit a couple times a week for families in the church. Connections and love can be fostered anywhere and anytime.
Becoming even more relational and whole-life-centered as church families is always a win! So, we at ICM have put together a list of ways to foster summertime connections in your churches. Click here to download our list to share with your friends and colleagues.
Are there things that you’re already doing to connect in these summer months? We’d love to hear in the comments!