I grew up near the ocean and spent many days at the beach. Whenever friends or family would come to visit, we’d take them to the shore and we’d share some safety tips. Don’t forget your sun screen, don’t swim out too far, don’t touch a jelly fish (some of them sting), and don’t fight the undertow.
Sometimes, a current can catch you and pull you out to sea. When it does, you can’t fight it head on because you’ll run out of energy before it does. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you break free from it’s grip.
Summer is the season of the undertow. Things slow down, people leave town, and church gets hard, but it won’t last. A new wave will come in the fall.
Don’t over plan. Go with the flow. Keep it simple. Here’s a list of 8 simple ways to survive the summer slow down. Don’t try to do everything on this list, but pick 2 or 3 things that you can do well.
1) Prayer and Feasting
Many churches start January with a season of prayer and fasting. Make June a season of prayer and feasting. Encourage people to take 21 days in June to pray and picnic. Have them pray for your fall and winter goals and build relationships with each other, coworkers, and their neighbors by having barbecues, picnics, and parties. People do these things in the summer anyway so teach them to be intentional about who they spend time with.
2) Post your Messages Online
Start a podcast, begin a YouTube channel, or stream your services. People are traveling and looking for something to listen to on those long drives. Give them good content. Help them stay connected.
3) Make Giving Easy
Allow people to give online or via text message. People want to give. Don’t make it any harder than it needs to be. Show people how simple it is to set up automatic donations. Many will appreciate you helping them have one less thing on their summer to do list.
4) Vacation Bible School
VBS is an oldie, but it’s a goodie. Think outside the box. Maybe you can host your VBS at an apartment complex or local community center. Families want their kids to be involved in good things so give them something good.
5) Leverage Social Media
Keep your pages current. Post often, but don’t spam people. Have a Vacation Photo contest and give away free church swag to the families who tag your church or use your hashtag.
6) Concerts and Festivals
Have 1 or 2 family focused events. Invite local bands for a battle of the bands or bring in an artist if you can afford it.
7) Back to School Bash
End the summer with a bang. Bring in some games, bounce houses, and create some free fun. Many families will have tapped out their budges with summer travel and will be looking for some low cost things to do at the end of the summer.
8) Mission trips
People want to travel in the summer so give them a way to make a difference. Find ways for people to go and share the gospel and serve others. Choose a mission trip that fits your values. You can go across the state, country or border.
How do you survive the summer slow down?