The lure of summer vacation and long, lazy weekends can dramatically impact regular church attendance, but it’s a perfect time to think outside the box with innovative programs. We know that God doesn’t take a sabbatical from June to September, and neither do church leaders.
Church leaders face tons of challenges that are unique to summertime. People are very busy and mobile, often disconnecting from church activities from late May until school days begin. There are gaps in communication, finances and planning.
Here are three summer challenges you may be facing and ways to turn them into positive outcomes for your church during this season.
- How You Can Survive Financial Seasonal Gaps
As leaders know, church ministry doesn’t take a vacation. In fact, summer is often the busiest—and perhaps the most expensive—season of ministry activity with the greatest potential for Kingdom impact, according to an article by RSI Stewardship. They have provided an excellent fact sheet on how to avoid summertime financial slumps, which suggests that when you implement the key ideas laid out in Don’t Sweat Summer Giving: 10 Ways to Avoid a Financial Crisis During an Unpredictable Ministry Season, your church’s summer giving sets the stage for year-round success of sustainable ministry funding.
Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren also encourages another creative idea:
“I had an idea almost two decades ago and implemented what I call our ‘Summer Program of Giving,’ which advertises the amount of money it takes to fund our ministry budget during this 15-week stretch. We place it on periodicals. We give it visibility. We use some kind of visual to demonstrate our weekly status. It works. I would estimate that we have reached the goal for our summer program of giving 90% of the time. If we did not do that, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ would result in “out of money.”
- Considering Switching to Wednesday Night Worship.
Summer has a way of thinning out pews on Sunday mornings as the sun-loving faithful take to trails, outdoor markets and backyard projects. The predictable pattern poses challenges, especially for smaller congregations. More and more, however, churches are rediscovering Wednesday — a traditional midweek church night — as a prime time to gather the flock for casual worship in summer, according to G. Jeffrey Macdonald| Religion News Service in an OnFaith article. Early adopters report improved attendance, slightly fatter coffers and invigorated spirituality as curious newcomers drop by and join in.
- How To Keep Your Church Members Connected
Communicate and remind your church members that they can stay engaged no matter where they travel through your church’s website. Your site may offer an opportunity to live-stream worship, or have podcasts readily available for download. With CCS’s WORSHIPcast License you can include your worship music with the sermon—you can legally stream more than 19 million songs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Traveling church members will stay engaged if they’re able to listen to your message and worship along with your in-person service.
Pastor Warren also suggests the follow:
“Plan at least one or two major events that the entire church can embrace and participate in as a family. For example, for us, it is our Summer Freedom Celebration which is a major message and time of worship on the Sunday morning prior to July 4. Additionally, on that same day we welcome thousands at our ‘Fireworks at the Crosses,’ a fun, exciting evening event for everyone. We even use this moment to try to get everyone possible who is ‘waiting baptism’ to be baptized in our outdoor baptistry. On this evening, I will baptize each one of them.”
- How to Serve Your Surrounding Community
Working parents face unique challenges during summer months, and churches have a great opportunity to help Moms and Dads by offering creative youth and camp summer activities for their communities. Parents in your community would be thrilled to find free activities for their kids that are healthy, fun and even educational. Your church could be a source for these types of activities, as provided by Outreach Church Ideas and Tools.
Out-of-school months could also be a great time teach and invest in the next generation of musicians, singers and creative artists. You might engage your worship and creative arts team to offer classes for children who have an interest in music and the arts, both in your church member families and surrounding community.
5. How You Can Get Copyright Licensing Before Fall and Holiday Programs
After Labor Day, when the fall frenzy begins and holiday programs are on a fast track, there’s no time to plan or even think about copyright licensing. NOW is the time to catch up on your reading list. With that in mind we’re very excited to offer CCS’s online, interactive Copyright Compliance Report Card that helps you evaluate how your church is doing. This is a great place to start with a quick analysis and overview on just how “compliant” your church is and where the holes are in your licensing coverage. It also provides you with simple licensing solutions and ideas to cover your activities.
Church leaders are often overwhelmed and confused by copyright issues. Analyzing your level of compliance is often at the bottom of a long list of priorities, but wouldn’t it be nice to actually talk to a live person about your copyright needs? That’s exactly why we are offering a FREE 20-minute consultation. Call 1-877-394-5566 to schedule your FREE Consultation today!
Remember that you can always call and talk to one of our CCS reps at 855-576-5837, if you have any questions about copyright licensing.
CCS’s Founder and CVO, Susan Fontaine Godwin is an educator and long-time member of the Christian arts community with 30 years of experience in the Christian media industry, church copyright administration and copyright management. Susan is an author and speaker and frequently writes for several Christian magazines and online publications. She serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Mobile.
About Christian Copyright Solutions: CCS’s quest is to help churches and Christian ministries “do music right.” CCS is an expert on church music copyrights and our primary focus is providing licensing and clear educational resources to churches, as well as representation, administration and advocacy for copyright owners. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.