From Bill Easum From our Advanced Leadership Forum. Click here to join
Too many churches reduce ministries in the summer. 95% of these churches are declining and the attitude that would allow them to reduce ministries in the summer is one of the underlying issues of dying churches.
If so little is happening in your church in the summer, that is one reason the church is either in trouble or declining or not reaching its potential. Take worship for example. Some churches change worship times and/of cut back on the number of services, or the choir is discontinued. Or S.S. is often totally dropped in the summer. Any of these changes hurt a church in several ways. One, the summer is still the time when most people move and begin looking for a new church (July and August). Often there are as many visitors in August as there are at Christmas or Easter. If the times are changed visitors will not know about it. If the choir isn’t in place, and the people come from a good church, they won’t return because good churches don’t drop their choir in the summer (unless they don’t have a choir and are all contemporary). Can you imagine a contemporary praise service without a band and singers? Same is true with an excellent traditional service. Remove the choir and you remove the heart of the service.
Or look at it is this way. If you stop something in the summer, you have to start it back in the fall. Restarting every year always means lost momentum. Also, keep in mind that not everyone is gone in the summer.
Now look at the real damage. When we cancel something in the summer we are saying to our children, who learn from us not so much by what we say as what we do, that whatever it is that we are canceling really isn’t essential to our Christian living. In reality they realize that we are simply playing church.
So the moral is – don’t plan for a summer slump by canceling things; plan for a summer hump by adding things. I remember a few years ago Prince of Peace in Burnsville added an outside service in the summer and their attendance went up. Los Gatos church in CA (forget the town) had a major Broadway musical production every week in the summer on Thursday and then used the secular music Sunday around the message. Can’t you just see following the yellow brick road to the Gospel instead of the Witch?
When I restarted Colonial Hills they didn’t have a history of Vacation Bible School since we only had 3 children. I found a couple of youth and adults who said they would help and we did it anyway and had 98 kids show up.
Folks, we get what we plan for. If summer is a slack time in your church, then look around and see how you can change that. If the choir takes off, convince them you can’t preach without them. If they want to change the times of worship in the summer, talk them out of it. If they want to drop S.S., don’t let them. If they go ahead and do so anyway, you show up at the normal time, organize your own choir, and teach your own S.S. class for all ages. Shame them into being faithful servants of Christ ALL YEAR LONG! You are supposed to be the leader, so be one. Take charge. Don’t wait for consensus. Consensus kills. Instead Embed Christian DNA by letting them see how Christians should live and act and be in ministry ALL YEAR LONG.