Packed Pools and Empty Pews: How to Avoid the Summer Slump

Date Posted: 7/26/2018

By: Sherri Gragg
Each summer, pastors face the specter of barren pews and empty coffers as their congregants’ ease into the slower pace of the season. New Director of Congregational Excellence the Rev. Robert Besser, comes to the rescue with his top five tips to beat the Summer slump.
1. Get the Kids Involved
Keep families engaged with special kid-focused worship events such as end of the week VBS celebrations or a Youth Sunday. Besser says it is also a great idea to take advantage of the summer months to offer special ministry opportunities for students and then give them a chance to share about their experiences once they come home. “When youth attend U.M. Army, summer camp, or a mission trip, have them share about how the experiences made a difference in their lives,” Besser said.
2. Spice Things Up with Special Music
Bring in special music groups such as Bluegrass or gospel quartets for non-traditional worship services. Another great idea is to offer college students, who are home for the summer, a chance to lead in worship. Their families and friends are sure to come support them.
3. Put Something Fun on the Calendar
Summer is a great time to think creatively when it comes to fellowship events. “One church I attended recently is hosting a charity trivia night. It is a fun idea to build community and it is raising funds for a local charity,” Besser said.
4. Begin a New Sermon Series
What are some concerns that are prevalent in your congregation? What are people talking and praying about? This summer tackle those issues head-on in a new sermon series.
5. Embrace the Spirit of Summer
Independence Day. Memorial Day. Labor Day. Americans are just looking for a reason to fire up the grill. Why not invite them to a celebration at church? “Once I served at a church that had an annual Red, White, and Blue Worship and Brunch on the Sunday closest to July 4th. “They decorated the fellowship hall for the event. The food was red tomatoes from church members’ gardens, watermelon, cheesy grits, blueberry muffins-anything red, white, and blue,” Besser said. “On that Sunday, people came home from the beach, lake, or wherever they were to attend the fun worship and brunch.”
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