3 Strategies to Avoid the Summer Church Attendance Slump

3 Strategies to Avoid the Summer Church Attendance Slump

Yesterday, we conducted a webinar to tackle the topic of declines in giving and church attendance during the summer. This topic was incredibly well received, so we wanted to drop some of the highlights here for our readers.

Promoting Summer Events

If you haven’t already started, it’s crucial to utilize your Sundays to start promoting summer events. Build it into your larger communication strategy. In terms of the types of events that get people excited, things that involve families and children can make a huge impact. Alejandro shared about a church near him that is doing a large Vacation Bible School, and even though his family doesn’t attend there, they will still be participating in the event with their daughters.

In addition, some churches now do a week long sports camp where people can bring their kids in for a few hours each day and get them active and outside rather than simply hanging out with an iPad or Xbox. Parents love to have options like this as they look to plan out their summers.

These events, besides being amazing services to the community, are also a great way to introduce new folks to the type of church body that you are.

Other ideas mentioned included summer workshops that focused on business topics (including small businesses and entrepreneurs) and holding entire services outside in a park or community setting.

Having a Solid Follow-Up Process

The biggest thing to note here is to make sure you have a solid follow up process in place for events such as VBS, a sports camp, and summer workshops. Write this out on paper and make sure the strategy is clearly communicated to your teams.

As a society who faces constant notifications competing for our attention, it can be hard to stand out and stay top of mind for your church attendees. This is where a solid online strategy can be a huge asset. Alejandro goes into several online mediums but finds email to be the channel that performs best. For many people that he talks to, it’s the first technology they check each day.

If your church doesn’t already have a solid email program in place, start with a company called MailChimp. They are widely used and accepted, and also free for up to 2,000 subscribers.

In addition to choosing your software, follow these best practices:

  • Be consistent by sending every single week.
  • Use interesting subject lines and focus on the first few words.
  • Use email to promote and recap Sunday services.

Alejandro also digs deep in the webinar to start a few really great stats shared regarding Facebook usage and how to get started boosting posts. This section tackles posting frequency, image usage, and targeting criteria. If you’re curious about Facebook for church, this segment should be a great resource for you.

Engaging People Where They’re At

The biggest thing to remember is that when done right, the mobile phone can be like a mini-church in your pocket. Begin to view it that way as a church team and you’ll start to see success engaging people where they are at.

If there’s one message that runs through this webinar, it’s the importance of meeting people where they are. Practices like social media, getting out into the community, and hosting family summer events make it easy for people to engage with your church.  Giving should be the same way.

Can people give easily even when on vacation? How long does it take to give using a mobile device? What about giving while at a park service or during a community event? How are you facilitating generosity in these settings?

Derek Gillette

Derek Gillette is the Digital Marketing Content Specialist at Cisco. He and his wife share a life mission to create meaningful conversations through vulnerability.