Summers are typically seasons where ministries languish. A steady stream of distractions keep congregations away from regular church services. Vacations keep members occupied on weekends. Children are home from school make weekdays hectic. Here are a few things you do to prepare for the summer slump.
This article comes out a week after the one-two punch of Christmas and Easter. Now begins the slow wind-down to Summer. Instead of just letting that summer slump hit you, prepare now. Some of these projects are difficult to do. So start now to get them right.
Allow people to experience church services no matter where they are. There are many mobile applications that allow you to broadcast live content. Try out your options and see what gives the best success. A few test runs now will ensure your members can virtually attend a service no matter where they are. Some popular options are Periscope and Google Hangouts. Or you can consider going bigger with a full online service via Church Online.
Perhaps your visitors will be away from reliable Internet connections. So instead of live streaming, they can watch recorded services afterward. You may be unable record the worship part due to licensing restrictions. But your pastor’s sermons are typically your own content. If you are a satellite campus of a larger church, this may not be the case. You may already watch recorded sermons. Just direct people to those pre-made videos. If you do not want to create a podcast feed for this, you can send out links via an email newsletter. Just get those recordings into the hands of your congregation.
One worry that a church may have is a drop in weekly giving. If people are not in church, they are often not tithing. You can fix this with digital giving options. This can be as simple as a one-time PayPal transaction. Or you can investigate a mobile giving system. The good news is there are many platforms to choose from. MoGiv and Tithe.ly are two that specifically cater to churches and non-profits. Put these systems in place now, so vacations do not interrupt donations.
Do not forget that many people will visit people in your congregation. Provide opportunities for these new visitors to connect with your church. Just keep it simple. These are visitors that will not be in your church very often. So asking for memberships is not going to bear much fruit. A smaller ask will yield better results. Ask them to subscribe to your sermon podcast. Sign up for an email newsletter. Provide a link and/or QR code to a landing page on your website. There they can find options for all the mobile devices and platforms you support.
Vacation Bible School
Despite what you call it, most churches have a week of activity for their youth ministries. Help people view it as more than just cheap daycare. Start sending out updates now. If you do not have any news, begin building your email list and social media following. Start filming videos and get all your digital teaching aids ready to go. Think of ways to digitally share the experience with parents and your congregation. Prepare now to show them what the next generation is learning.
If you were not well prepared for Easter, do not let the same thing happen for the summer. Church staff and your congregation will be on vacation. The time to get ready for the “lazy days of summer” is now. The more you prepare, the easier and more successful it will be. Find one or two of the items above and jump on them now. Please do not forget to come back and post your success stories in the comments below!
Photo courtesy of Pedro Melo