June 20th is the first day of summer. I can barely contain my excitement. It may sound like I’m being facetious, but that’s not the case. After enduring a spring that was filled with dogwood, blackberry, and cotton britches winters, I’m ready for some warmer weather. Even if that means 90+ degree days and 100% humidity here in the south. I say bring on the sunshine.
But as the weather heats up, we all know church attendance and giving seem to wither. If we’re not careful this may cause us to wither ourselves. It’s healthy to remember that this is a normal thing, and it shouldn’t be a reason to stress.
Yes, on average your attendance is going to decrease ten to fifteen percent as your congregation goes on vacation this summer. Giving will probably do the same, but hopefully you’ve planned for that. If not, make sure to remember to next year.
This post isn’t about how to keep those things from happening, because let’s face it, unless you’re LifeChurch, the attendance and giving slump is almost inevitable.
No, this post is about how you, personally, can avoid the summer slump, and make the most of your summer. Here are seven ways I believe you can do just that.
- Take a Family Vacation – Everyone else is, so you might as well get in on the action. The summer is the perfect time to do this. Line someone else up to preach for you on Sunday, and enjoy the week off with your family. Don’t make the mistake of feeling like the church can’t survive one Sunday without you there.
- Rest – Don’t mistake your family vacation for rest. If it’s anything like my family vacations, it can be one of the busiest, most stressful weeks of the year. Take a few days off during the summer to rest, relax, and recharge. Your physical body, as well as your church body, will thank you for it as you come back healthier and more energetic.
- Have Fun – Four or five times this summer, just go and do something fun. For you this may be a day of fishing, a day on the golf course, or a night out at the drive-in. The goal is just to enjoy life.
- Read – Pick up a book or two you can read through this summer. You can keep it fun and light, or read something you could use in a future sermon series. Here are a few of my favorite reads () if you need some ideas.
- Evaluate – What’s working so far this year? What isn’t? Are you where you’d thought you’d be? What needs to change? What can you do better?
- Plan – What do you hope to accomplish in the fall? Now is the time to put a plan in place. What’s the focus? What’s the priority? Write down the action steps that it will take to get there.
- Pray – For yourself, your family, and your ministry. Be open and honest with God, telling Him your hopes and dreams for the future. Write down your prayers so that you can look back on them and see all that God has accomplished in your life.
Just because the summer is slumping doesn’t mean you have to be. Summer can be the most productive season of your year if you play your cards right. A summer done well can turn a summer slump into a fall bump. I hope that’s the case for you.
What’s your focus during the summer? Are you fighting the slump or embracing it?