THRIVE in the Summertime

2 weeks ago

BY Field Day

THRIVE in the Summertime

Summer is traditionally a time when church attendance and giving experience a noticeable dip. Vacations, family activities, and the allure of the outdoors often pull congregants away, leaving church leaders concerned about maintaining engagement and financial stability. However, rather than merely surviving these challenging months, churches can adopt strategies to thrive and even grow. Here are some creative and impactful ways to keep your church vibrant and connected during the summer drought.

Catch Me Outside

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the great outdoors and create memorable, fun-filled experiences for your congregation. Instead of sticking strictly to indoor worship services, consider moving them outside to enjoy the beautiful weather and foster a sense of community.

Imagine a Sunday morning service held in a local park where families can bring blankets, enjoy the sunshine, and worship together in a relaxed, natural setting. After the service, stay for a picnic, complete with games and activities for all ages. This change of scenery can be refreshing and draw in those who might be looking for a more casual, family-friendly environment.

Create Church-wide Summer Events

Don’t fight the summer season, lean into it. Hosting fun and engaging community events can be a fantastic way to keep everyone connected and energized. Imagine an evening barbecue with delicious food, laughter, and games for all ages. Or picture an outdoor movie night under the stars, complete with popcorn and blankets.

These events aren’t just about having a good time—they’re about building relationships and creating memories. When your church community gathers for a summer fair or a friendly sports tournament, it strengthens the bonds between members and opens doors for new friendships. Plus, these activities provide a welcoming space for newcomers to join in the fun and feel at home.

Host an Old School Church Picnic

Bring back that church charm with an old school church picnic! There’s something heartwarming and deeply connecting about gathering together to share homemade food, play classic games, and enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed outdoor setting.

Host it right after church on the lawn. If you don’t have a lawn, pick a beautiful spot at a local park. Cater it for free or charge a minimal amount for a whole family. If you really want to go old school, make it a potluck and have everyone bring their favorite dishes. Imagine long tables covered in checkered tablecloths, a spread of delicious home-cooked meals, and plenty of cozy blankets and folding chairs where friends and families can sit together.

Throw in some field day games to make it nostalgic like sack races, three-legged races, and tug-of-war. It’s fun for both the engagers and observers. Throw in a live DJ or at least have speakers for music to set the summer picnic vibes. It’s a perfect way to get your community to invite friends and family.

Get Missional

Engage in mission projects, whether locally or abroad. You’ll be amazed how many people who were not planning on connecting over the summer would engage in missions. Organize short-term mission trips that allow your congregation to experience new cultures and provide much-needed support in different parts of the world. These trips can be life-changing, deepening faith and fostering stronger connections among participants. 

For those who can’t travel, there are plenty of meaningful ways to stay involved right at home. Plan local mission projects like community clean-ups, helping at local shelters, or supporting food banks.

Pause Small Groups and start Active Groups

Active Groups are centered around shared interests and hobbies. Engaging in activities like biking, hiking, canoeing, or other summertime activities can foster deeper connections among members who share similar passions. It will also be an easy onramp for someone who would not attend a Sunday morning service but would love to connect over an activity. 

It could look like a group that meets every Saturday morning to explore local trails, or a canoeing group that paddles together on nearby lakes and rivers. For those who prefer less physically demanding activities, consider forming groups around hobbies like gardening, photography, or cooking.

Enjoy a Summer Sabbath

Taking a Summer Sabbath can be a refreshing reset and healthy practice for your entire church community, including the staff. Designate a week during the summer where regular church activities including service are paused, giving everyone a chance to rest, recharge, and connect with each other in more informal settings. Maybe schedule it during a time you think the church will have very low attendance. Cast vision for the church to connect with each other in micro communities during that week and on that Sunday. 

For the church staff, a Summer Sabbath provides a much-needed break from the demands of ministry. It’s an opportunity to rest, reflect, and return reenergized. Promote the Summer Sabbath well in advance to ensure everyone is aware and can plan accordingly. Provide resources and ideas for how members can make the most of this week.

Get Festive

Whether by selling items or giving away free goodies, all with the aim of meeting new people and promoting the church’s mission and values. Summer festivals are bustling hubs of activity and provide an amazing opportunity for your church to connect with the community in a fun and festive atmosphere. Set up eye-catching booths that reflect the personality of your church and offer something of value to festival-goers. This could include selling handmade crafts or baked goods, providing free snacks or drinks, or offering fun activities for children and families.

Use these interactions as a chance to engage in meaningful conversations and build relationships with those you meet. Be genuine, friendly, and approachable, and be prepared to share about your church’s activities, programs, and the welcoming community it offers.

When we dive into these ideas, we could go from just surviving the summer to actually growing and thriving. It’s all about getting creative, reaching out to our church fam and the wider community in ways that are real and intentional. Go where the people are during the summer and find ways to connect! By doing this, you’re not just growing a church; you’re building a vibrant, tight-knit community where everyone feels excited to invite others to. Watch your church flourish, no matter what time of year it is.

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