It’s no secret summer is a challenge for churches. With attendance declining an average of 20% in the summer, growing your ministry can feel like an impossible undertaking. Churchgoers are all over the place and distracted by everything from vacations to home improvement projects. Unfortunately, the empty seats often result in fewer gifts this time of year as well. But, don’t give up! Summer church growth is possible.
If you want to grow your church this summer, there are some effective (and simple!) ways to make it happen. To help, we’ve hand-picked 6 need-to-know tips that inspire participation and increase retention rates.
1. Expand your church’s online presence
Just because people aren’t in their seats doesn’t mean they aren’t furthering their relationship with the church. When away from regular routines, churchgoers still look online for ways to connect and give. Expand your church’s online presence by staying active on social media and sharing your message via live streaming.
Whether usual attendees are on a beach vacation or at a family reunion, they can still tune in to your weekend services. Your church live stream can keep your audience engaged no matter where they are. Include sermon notes and prayer requests, and chat with your online congregation in real-time.
Along with live streaming your services, provide simple-to-use online giving features. Text and app giving are a great way to make the church accessible this summer. Even when people are far from home, they’re still looking at their phones daily. This can help inspire generosity from anywhere at any time.
2. Get involved in community activities
Getting involved in community activities is a great way to foster summer church growth. Charity walks, farmer’s markets, local fundraisers, and other events are both fun and purposeful. Events such as these give you the opportunity to spread the word about your church to new and old community members that are unfamiliar with it.
And don’t forget to take pictures. Whenever you have members participate in the community, post pictures on social media and your church’s website to engage those who couldn’t be there. It can also inspire them to attend upcoming events and get more involved.
3. Encourage members to invite friends and neighbors
Personal invites are always a great way to get more people to church. Often, people are waiting for somebody to ask them to come, even though they may not even be aware that’s what they were wanting. You never know what people are going through, so encouraging regular attendees to reach out to their friends, family, and neighbors could have a positive benefit.
With fewer people attending church in the summer, new visitors can actually feel more comfortable. Parking, finding a seat, speaking with other attendees and leaders, and learning about the church’s mission become more approachable. By encouraging churchgoers to invite friends and neighbors, the experience is enhanced even more. With a familiar face by their side, guests feel at home and are more likely to return.
4. Make each service special for new visitors
Summer is the peak moving season with millions of Americans packing up and relocating. As new faces arrive in the community, they’ll be searching for everything from restaurants to places of worship. Be sure to keep your church website updated with your service times, locations, and any special summer events.
When they do arrive, give all those new faces extra attention and make sure you collect their contact information. Having church management software (ChMS) can make a huge difference in not letting new people fall through the cracks. Set up workflows to automate messages to new attendees. Help them feel welcomed and let them know about their next steps.
5. Encourage recurring giving
Even if you’re getting a late jump on summer planning, emphasize your recurring giving program. Monthly giving grew 32% last year because donors are catching on to the many benefits. There’s no guilt or loss of connection with the church because they missed a Sunday service while on vacation or forgot to tithe on the busy weekend of their family reunion. It’s a one-time setup, and then churchgoers can monitor it at their convenience.
Recurring giving is also extremely beneficial to the church because it’s a predictable source of income and the retention rate is high. Recurring gifts are incredibly easy to process, track, and record with our online giving platform. Along with increase in engagement, recurring giving helps summer church growth.
6. Host Summer Events
Family Movie Night
Invite the community to experience the church in a new way by hosting a family movie night on the lawn! The first step is choosing a movie that’s uplifting and fun for all ages. Make sure you get a movie license (even if you own the film) because there are penalties due to copyright laws when screening outside the privacy of your home. Fortunately, a movie license is affordable and easy to get!
Once the date is set for the movie night, invite the community through social media, the church’s website, and email. Have a refreshment station set up with popcorn bags, beverages, welcome kits, and a giving kiosk.
Summer is the ideal time to host a church carnival. It’s a fun way to get the whole community involved and raise awareness of the church’s mission. Include field day games, a bouncy house, a guest speaker, or whatever fun and educational activities your church family enjoys.
Don’t forget the delicious food and drinks! You can bring in a food truck that serves carnival favorites, grill hot dogs and hamburgers, or even let people enter a cookoff with prizes. Also, have water at the welcome center to ensure everyone stays hydrated. Get your branded donation page ready and giving kiosks set up, so people can give when inspired!
Host a fun beach day at a nearby oceanfront beach, lake, or river. Create an event page on your church website where everybody can find out the details—like time, location, and what to bring. You can make it pot-luck style or provide something simple like sandwiches.
Have a super laid back gathering, or include beach games like volleyball, spike ball, or frisbee golf. You could even include a beach bonfire as the sun sets. No matter what you do, people will enjoy their time fellowshipping at the beach together.
Summer with ShareFaith
Whatever your summer church plans are, ShareFaith is here to help! From church websites to event forms to media, we want to help you see church growth this summer. Contact us today to check out the entire ShareFaith Suite of game-changing church technology.