As the warmer weather approaches, calendars fill up with vacations, sports, and other fun activities to take advantage of the summer sun! If you are a church leader, you have probably seen how this season impacts attendance at your church. This dip in attendance is commonly referred to as the “summer slump.” Churches see attendance hit an all-time low as the snowbirds return to their summer homes, college students travel back to their home states, and parents are looking for ways to occupy their kids during the break from school.
While you can’t bypass the summer slowdown/slump altogether, we’ve got a few tips for church leaders to help deal with the summer slump and prioritize your church calendar.
1) Set Realistic Expectations
Don’t be discouraged when you see the summer slump start to impact your attendance. It’s normal for all churches to see a dip in attendance, and it is generally unavoidable. By setting realistic expectations, you won’t be disappointed or discouraged when those numbers start to dip.
2) Get Creative with Your Ministry
During the summer months, it might be difficult for some people to show up on a Sunday morning consistently. But that doesn’t have to mean that they are disconnected from their church community during this time. Look for ways to minister to your members and community outside of your prescribed service times. Look for local festivals, events, and service projects that you can participate in as a church and have a presence at to invest in the community.
3) Prioritize Digital Ministry
If you haven’t already, this is a great time to consider digital ministry options that people can partake in whenever it fits their schedule. Some questions to ask: How can we add value to people’s spiritual life through a digital ministry? Can we provide resources for a family worship night? Or maybe bite-sized devotionals that can easily be done in 5-10 minutes? The possibilities are endless to provide alternative ways to keep people connected to your church online.
4) Make Giving Accessible
Just because people are less likely to be physically at your church over the summer doesn’t mean that they don’t want to give regularly. Make sure your giving is accessible to those members with busy schedules. Online giving is a great way to provide options to your members whether they want to give once or set up a recurring monthly gift. Make sure your members know online giving is an option before the summer slump is in full swing!
5) Plan Ahead for the Fall
With a decrease in attendance, the summer slowdown is the perfect time to review and plan for the Fall. Set aside some time to review any systems you currently have in place and see if there is a way to improve them. When involvement gets more consistent, how will your ministry need to change? What initiatives need to be planned out now to be most effective?
6) Provide Special Events for the Whole Family
With children out of school and one, if not both, parents working, it can be difficult to find events the whole family can enjoy. Take note of the demographic of your church. Do you have more families, singles, or young couples? What kinds of events will serve your community best? Depending on the demographic of your church, you might consider offering VBS, movie nights, water park days, or picnics in the park. By offering events that help bring the family together, you can make sure connecting with your church is beneficial and not an obligation to fill-up their calendar even more.
The summer slowdown/slump can be discouraging if you aren’t prepared for this season and don’t adjust what your church offers to support your congregation. If your church needs help setting up online giving or adding systems to be better prepared to get back into your stride in the Fall, now is the perfect time to try out a demo of One Church Software.