Summer is here. In most churches, that means lower attendance. With lower attendance comes a bit of a slower pace of ministry. Some churches try to fight this. But maybe, instead of fighting the summer, you should embrace it.
Here are a few ways how.
1. Don’t over schedule
The biggest mistake churches make in the summer is trying to fill the calendar with activity to make up for the feeling of inactivity. Don’t pack the calendar. Families are busy, and that’s OK. Give yourself and the church some breathing room. Instead of throwing more events at people, try joining in with the natural rhythms that they are already a part of.
2. Attendance is down, but relationships are up
Instead of focusing on the people who are not at church in the summer, you have the opportunity to spend more time to focus on relationships with the people who are there. Use the summer as a natural season for strengthening relationships and building community in your church. Invite people over for a BBQ. Go to your neighbor’s pool party. Accept the invitations to go to the lake, beach, camping, golfing, or wherever. A healthy season of relationship building in the summer can lay the foundation for a strong season of growth in the fall.
3. Unplug and take a vacation
Most pastors are overworked. Many rarely ever take time off. And when they do, they are never really off. In today’s world, the pastor is always a phone call, text message, email, Facebook message, or Tweet away. Do yourself and your family a favor and take a vacation. A real vacation. That means you don’t bring your work with you. Power off the phone, leave the laptop at home, and get away to spend some quality time with your family. Even if you are strapped for cash, unplug and have a staycation at home.
Forget about ministry for a brief moment. Relax. Spend time enjoying God’s creation. Take joy in the blessings He has given you. Enjoy creating memories with your family. I know it’s hard to break the addiction if constantly checking your phone, but it is worth the fight to be fully present with your family.
4. Get ahead on planning the fall
Get ahead on sermon preparation. Take advantage of the slower pace to plan ahead for the fall. Get ahead while you can, because summer will be over before you know it. A crazy back-to-school and then holiday season is right around the corner. Getting ahead now will make the more stressful seasons less stressful.
5. Read more
Pick up some good books. If your reading list is getting low, the summer is a great time to restock. Or if you are like me, and your pile of books to read is getting too big, summer is a great time to catch up. Don’t feel guilty about reading books on topics that you will be preaching about in the fall. And don’t feel guilty about taking extra time to invest in yourself. However, do yourself a favor and pick up some others that are purely enjoyable or interesting to you that May or may not ever be used in a sermon. Go ahead and read for intellectual, spiritual, and personal development, but take some time this summer to read for enjoyment as well.
How will you take advantage of the summer months?