Can churches grow in the summer?
Of course, they can. In fact, churches should grow in the summer. However, they rarely do for one simple reason: their leaders let down too much.
Some churches I know do away with children’s ministry for the summer to give their teachers a rest. Others quit small groups or put virtually nothing on the church calendar. Some preachers repreach old sermon series or do the series they don’t think can handle the freight in fall or spring.
The reasoning is simple: offerings and attendance go down, so it’s better to save our best efforts and cost for the times that people are actually around.
I understand that thinking completely and half agree with it. If given the choice between “using our bullets” in summer or the “high season,” I would choose fall or spring as well.
I’m just wondering if sometimes people care less in the summer because we do. Some churches even talk about summer that way–convincing the church it’s less important than other times. I’m also wondering if we couldn’t benefit from pacing ourselves better in fall and spring so our churches don’t hibernate in the summer.
Summer is also a main time for people to look for a new/any church home. Some are moving into your city. Others want to get spiritually on track before school starts up again.
Some single moms head back because the kids are out of school, and some adult time to ponder their lives would do her some good. If they show up and children’s ministry isn’t happening, the preacher is never there, the calendar is totally empty, and there is an overall laxness about ministry that’s palpable, you may lose a great opportunity.
At New Vintage Church, some of our most core people arrived last summer while our “regulars” were traveling. It is a key time. Don’t surrender it.
If in fact our churches need a labor break in the summer that badly, the reality is we need to pace ourselves better–not abandon the summer.
I’m not naive; I agree the summer is probably the best time for the preachers to take their vacations, trim the calendar a bit, etc. But there is a difference between running at, say, 85% and mailing in the summer practically and mentally–which is quite common and also indirectly harmful to the fall and spring church “seasons.”
Summer is actually the best time for doing these things in particular: