How smart church leaders survive summer drought

Does it seem like in the easy breezy days of summer your congregation has forgotten what day it is? When you look out at the pews for weekend services, seating may be a little thin. From travel to sporting events to weekends at the cabin, summer is jam packed and the church routine can fall to the wayside.

Smart church leaders understand this and know rather than turning a blind eye for three months that the summer season is prime opportunity to get creative and try something new. Here are five ideas to help you maintain church attendance and interest in fellowship throughout the summer months:

Evening worship

Weekend days fill up fast, so many churches are offering alternative times to make it easy for people to do all the summer things they love and still attend services. For example, a Sunday evening service allows members to get everything they need done during the weekend but still see their church family before close of the week. Alternatively, Wednesday night is a time that is growing in popularity for worship, so consider better advertising your weekday services to your congregation.

Go digital

Though people are busy during the summer months, that doesn't mean they can't stay connected with their church and the good word. Thanks to the power of technology, you can livestream services and record them for easy replay at any time. You might also invite people to like and follow your social media pages and stay active in posting interesting content and information of value to always keep your church top of mind.

Offer family-friendly events

Summer can be a great time to start new traditions at your church. This can be a way to breathe new life into your current congregation while also attracting new members. Keep in mind, families are looking for activities this summer, so focus your efforts around activities for all ages. For example, host a bingo night or a pizza and movie luncheon. A "mom's night off" will also be well received where kids can come for some education and fun while mom gets a few hours to herself.

Revitalize coffee hour

Use the summer months to freshen your coffee hour, inviting people to stay and mingle longer after services. Sure, the donuts and coffee are a wonderful foundation, but consider themes to enhance fellowship times. For the Fourth of July, serve a variety of red, white and blue fare; for example, provide a variety of supplies to create yogurt parfaits with vanilla yogurt, blueberries and sliced strawberries. Another idea: Feature iced tea and lemonade one day to play off the dog days of summer. Even ice pops might be a fun change of pace!

Guest speakers

Summer is a great time to shake things up by bringing in new voices to engage members in fresh and exciting ways. This could be inviting a guest pastor for a week, or presenting a series on a topic of interest. You could also sponsor an event featuring an inspirational speaker or local author to come in and present, followed by an open discussion. You might even bring in childhood experts to speak to an important family topic. Be sure to advertise these events to the church community and community at large to reinforce your outreach and capture the interest of potential members as well.