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I'm Scott Ball, a strategy and leadership consultant for churches like yours.
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Maximize the Church Summer Slump: Part 1
The sun is up, the breeze is cool, and the pews are empty.
Let’s be honest with each other: the church summer slump is a real thing. It’s not uncommon for churches to experience a 15-30% reduction in attendance in June and July, and it can be a bit depressing. Resources are harder to come by in every way: fewer volunteers, fewer band members, fewer dollars in the offering. Less.
So it begs the question: How can we maximize the church summer slump?
The reality is that people will continue to travel, enjoy nice weather, and take advantage of extra family time in the summer. Let’s not fight it.
[Note: If you’re worried in particular about how to keep financially viable through the summer, read this brief article from FellowshipOne with a few tips. Don’t worry, I’m not an affiliate for them; it’s just a good, short article on how to tackle giving during the summer.]
Instead of attempting to reverse the church summer slump, let’s get more this summer by focusing on what we have less time for during the busy season. This is going to be a five-part blog series. Each post will be relatively short, giving quick tips on how to maximize one area of focus during the church summer slump.
Part One: Training
No one wants to do training in the summer time because no one wants to fight travel schedules, coordinate team attendance, and choose an outlet for training. But let me challenge you on this.
Summer is the absolute best time to do team-specific training.
It’s not a busy ministry season. There’s lower attendance and with some exceptions in student and children’s ministry, it is not peak season for activity. Because of this, your team has more mental capacity for learning new ideas.
Here are three types of training you should consider during summer:
1) Team Development
Teamwork is hard work. Teams don’t come together just because you call it a team. There are some key fundamentals to making teams work, and even if you “know” these principles, there’s a chance that you haven’t talked them through with your team in a long time. I highly encourage you to consider a High-Performance Team Workshop or similar training that reinforces the fundamentals of teamwork, and creates unity, clarity, and momentum for your team.
2) Skill Development
You know that thing you’ve always wanted your ministry to be able to do but it just seemed too complicated? Maybe you’re a worship pastor and have wondered if there would be tasteful ways to use loops. Or maybe you’re a youth pastor, and you wish you could figure out how to use Planning Center to streamline your volunteer scheduling. Summer is the time to figure it out. Take intentional time in the summer to hone a new skill; you can do skill development in a structured team format or just on your own.
3) Character Development
Summer is the perfect time to do some honest reflection on where you need to grow in character. No one is perfect. Everyone is flawed. There are no leaders and no church staff that do not have weak points in their character. Ask for feedback from trusted friends and staff. Ask them where they see weak points, and spend time in the summer in honest reflection and training on how to grow in character.
Training is critical, and far too often churches have delegated the task to big-name, big-brand conferences. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good conference as much as the next church leader, but high-impact training often requires more investment: more time, more resources, and more energy. The church summer slump provides the perfect context to engage in high-impact training.