Every industry has rhythms, and successful leaders identify them and position their organizations to thrive during the highs and survive the lows. Bad leaders ignore these rhythms and fail.
The beginnings of spring and fall are exciting times for pastors because they are key times for churches. People settle into routines, and life is good. Churches grow during these months but shrink in the summer. A bad summer sends an excited pastor into a minor depression.
Steps to Surviving The Summer Slump
When life moves fast, church gets slow. The Summer Slump eats away at attendance, giving, and relationships. The Church is a web of relationships, and churches need to pay their bills and move forward in their God-given visions. Lower attendance and decreased giving can take weeks or months to level out. This stress keeps leaders from enjoying their summer. That’s bad.
Step 1. Accept the Slump
You can control some things, but most things are out of your control. But, that’s “ok.” God is taking care of it and Is good at dealing with these things. However, you can provide growth opportunities in the summer.
Step 2. Get Back Your Spunk
It’s natural. You didn’t cause the Summer Slump anymore than you caused summer. Before surviving and thriving, you must let the fear and guilt go. It’s not your fault. You can make it through this. Enjoy the season. Enjoy your family.
Step 3. Re-frame Your Funk
Strong families make strong churches. A good minister understands summer’s hectic pace. People should enjoy their families, play with their kids, and live balanced, fulfilled lives. It’s good for them, and it’s good for families.
Find ways to leverage the season and maintain contact with your people. People shouldn’t miss out on spiritual growth opportunities because they are spending time with their families. Make a plan to bridge the gap. Great churches find ways to integrate Faith and family. It’s important.
4 Ways to Get Relationships out of The Summer Slump
Summer strengthens family relationships, but the Summer Slump makes church relationships stale. Ministers know the story. A family finds a church in the fall, gets involved in the spring, and is gone by summer. The right activities reach people, but the right relationships keep people. Drawing power comes from things that are exciting, provocative, and entertaining, but staying power comes from relationships.
Pray for each other. An active prayer network makes a huge difference. Prayer binds people together. Prayer networks encourage people through the hard times. People who pray together stay together. Don’t overlook prayer because it’s basic.
Party Like a Rock Star
Encourage people to have barbecues, go fishing, hang out, go to the lake, go hiking, or take a day trip together. Whatever you doing, invite others to join in the fun. Not everyone can get away in the summer, and people are dying for things to do. Large summer events can be hard to pull off, but a consistent offering of small-scale recreational activities are just what people are looking for in the summer.
Be Friendly to Your Friends
Be social on social networks. Don’t always be selling your books, hawking your materials, and promoting your events. Share part of yourself with your networks. Like a status, comment on a photo, retweet a tweet, but don’t be a stalker. No one likes a creepy pastor. Facebook and Twitter won’t meet all the online needs your community has, but they’re a great place to start. Find other solutions.
Help people to help people. Find needs, and meet them. Spiritual families help when natural family can’t. Encourage people to work together, babysit kids, repair cars, give rides, lend sewing machines, walk dogs, and work out together. God puts people near each other for a reason. We need each other. The Summer Slump doesn’t change that.
The ultimate playbook to soar this summer!
This year the summer giving slump will be real. It will be linked to the dip in attendance from people who still haven’t returned to the church and the reality of families across the country finally being able to skip town safely.
Meanwhile, your church is quietly suffering the consequences. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
As the Vice President of Marketing for ACS Technologies, John is responsible for Marketing’s overall corporate strategy and direction. Storyteller, promoter, and problem solver to churches of all sizes and shapes. John has traveled the world working with prominent non-profit ministries. He also serves on the board of directors for Dayspring International.