7 Ways Your Church Can Beat The Summer Slump

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Do Discipleship in the Summer

So we talked about teaching with the seasons. This kind of fits that, but let me just go ahead and say it. This is a great time to teach on core values like, witnessing and prayer, and giving, and holiness and spiritual gifts, and things that you want people to hear about, but it's not what you would call a felt needs, sermon. It's more of a church needs, sermon. So you want to get away from felt needs. Now if you're not familiar with that phraseology, a felt need is something that you need and you feel it. So you got up this morning, you felt depressed, all right. You got up this morning, you felt the worry of are your kids are gonna be ok, is your marriage going to make it, or you looked at the checking balance and you felt the problem of the financial struggle you're in. That's a felt needs series, and they are really great in growth seasons because you're trying to get people into the church who haven't been in church. They don't have much of a relationship, or any relationship with God, and so you can connect with them with felt needs.

The summer's different. You don't have a lot of guests, or not as many. So, and if it's someone who is visiting because they are on vacation, they're a Christian, because I'm telling you if you're not a Christian you don't visit church on vacation, alright. Lets talk more about church needs. Lets talk more about witnessing and discipleship and understand that this is your core. The people that are there in the summer, that's your core. And so take time to build them.

Celebrate Your Volunteer Core

Now, the next point kind of speaks to the core as well. And that is celebrate your volunteer core and we call 'em, your Dream Team. I'll just jump right into this one. This is a great time to have fun. Great time to get outdoors with your team. Celebrate how hard they worked through all the things, you know you've had, by time summer rolls around you've had a couple of big events. The first of the year was a big push for church growth, it was probably a big push for giving, as it is in my church. You've had Easter which is a lot of work, and you've had Mother's Day which is a big day. So it's time to just celebrate your volunteer core. We have a lake day. I mentioned earlier that we're near the lake, and so we have a big lake day. We grill out, we celebrate what Easter did. Talk about those numbers, how hard you worked for Easter. We celebrate that. So, that's another way to seize on that season, have lots of fun. Let your staff and your volunteers staff know how much you appreciated them.

And I think that's where the ball gets dropped a lot with volunteers. You know, with volunteers, and I've always said this, when you're leading the volunteer organization, vision and appreciation are the paycheck. Right? Because they're not getting paid to be there. And I think a lot of times churches forget that. Their people are giving up something. Even if they're just giving up the ability to sit with their family in church. They are giving up something. Most of the time volunteers are working in a different part of church than their family. I know, I spend most of the day at my church on Sundays. And that's a big deal, because most weeks I work five and a half to six days a week. And so, you know, giving up the lion's share of my Sundays a big deal. So, vision, and appreciation, you can't over do them.

So, summer is great for that. It's already beautiful outside. People feel good anyways. In some strange way it feels like you made them feel good. You know, because you're good and you said nice things to them. So, cash in on that.

Recreate Yourself

And our last one, recreate yourself. You need to be refreshed. And the bible talks about us renewing our minds and so, it's Sabbath. And never forget this, Pastors. Sabbath is one of the big ten. You know, I read somewhere recently, and I remember putting it out on Twitter, that if you don't work, the Bible calls you lazy. But if you don't rest, the Bible calls you a sinner. Think about that for a minute. We always talk about how important it is to work. We wear it as a badge of honor, how hard we work. Pastors don't get a day off and all that kinda stuff. But, God made it one of the big Ten Commandments, that you're to have a Sabbath in your life. Now I know if you're like me and grew up in church, you were taught that Sabbath means, show up for church on Sunday. And don't work on Sunday. That's not what Sabbath means. Sabbath means rest. Sabbath means have a time to stop thinking and refresh.

And I'm just going to go ahead and tell you right now, if you're listening to this webinar, your Sabbath is not on Sunday. It flat out is not on Sunday. Your Sabbath is gonna have to be some other time. It needs to be a day a week, absolutely. My Sabbath is on Monday because we have church on Saturday and Sunday at Daystar. And so Monday is take it easy day and I enjoy that. But, it's more than just a day once a week. It needs to be some real off time. Some real refreshing time. So it's weeks at a time. It's really suppose to be done in the summer.

So, I kind of already said this, but, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I can remember being at Memorial Day weekend at Daystar, and I'm excited about a new series I'm kicking off, I didn't know any better. And I get up there and I start that sermon, and I look around and everybody else is at the lake but me, and a few sad people. I know that's not true, there were hundreds there, but it seemed like nobody was there but me. The whole time I'm preaching my sermon I'm thinking about all the time I've put into this. How much prayer I've put into this. And that most of the movers and shakers and leaders in my church were out on the lake. And so you know what I decided to do, I didn't fuss at them when they came back home, I decided next year, I'm going to be on the lake with them, when Memorial Day weekend rolls back around. And so, yeah, I'm in it for the long haul, and I'm gonna go with the ebb and flow, and so sometimes you have to just join 'em. You can't beat 'em, so join 'em.

"Really" Take Time Off

When we talk about time off, and this actually, I'm going to kind of wrap up with this, here's several things I want to say. Pastors are notorious for claiming they've taken off time, but not really being off. So hears a few things that if you are doing this, it's not really time off. It's not time off if you go to the office. Okay, that's not gonna happen. Somebody's going to run into you, you're going to have an impromptu counseling session, the bookkeeper's going to tell you that the offering wasn't very good. It's going to ruin your day, so, it's not time off if you go to the hospital. It's not time off if you go to the office, I'm sorry. Secondly, I meant to say, it's not time off if you go to the hospital. Let me tell you, a key volunteer is going to be in the hospital. But somebody else can go see them. It's not time off if you go to the office or the hospital.

Thirdly, it's not time off if you are responding to email, or Facebook. You have to shut that off, put an auto-response on and don't respond, okay. It's not time off if you select your off time, after everyone else selects theirs. I mentioned this a little bit earlier, but I used to do that all the time. I'd find out when my key volunteers were going to be away, and I would find my off time with whatever was left. No, you need to get out in front of it. You get off when the whole church attendance is the lowest. Go ahead and select that time, and then you can enjoy your time off.

Also, Pastors, you didn't really have time away if you only missed one Sunday. I remember when the first time a Pastor told me that, I thought I can't do that, if I miss two weeks in a row, man, by the second week they'll know I'm gone the attendance will be real low, and I had all these reasons why. And the reason that is, is because I have the same problem you Pastors have. All of you who are listening to me, I have the Messiah Complex. I think I'm the Messiah. I think nobody can be healed, nothing can be fixed, no one can be saved, the budget won't be enough, the finances won't be enough if I'm not there because I'm the Messiah. Now, you'd never say that, but I'm going be honest enough to go ahead and tell you that's what we have. We have the Messiah Complex.

If you only miss one Sunday, here's what you do. You just get a jump start on your sermon for the week when you're back. So go ahead, miss two Sundays. Don't get a jump start on it, don't work, the only way you're really going to get a week off is if you don't preach for two weeks in a row.

Don't Go to Your Own Church

And lastly, it's not really off time, if you go to your church. Now, you can be off and go to somebody else's church, but if you go to your church you're gonna notice every spider web that was left in the corner, you're gonna notice the sermon wasn't very good, the sound was too loud, or too soft, something was done wrong. And there are times to do that, and it's great to do that in the summer. To go to church and not preach. But if you're going to take off time, it's not really off time unless you don't go to church at all. So, recreate yourself. Refresh yourself. Use the summer to refresh yourself.