How to Drive Engagement During the Summer Slump

Ready or not, summer is here! Every year, students get out of school, the sun comes out, and your church members leave to go enjoy the weather elsewhere. Church attendance takes a nosedive and giving often follows.

But just because many of your churchgoers are out for the summer doesn’t mean you can’t keep them connected to your church. There are lots of ways you can tackle the challenges of this season head on and keep people engaged.

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Here are a few strategies you can use to engage your congregation this summer.

Send a summer email series

A lot of churches use email sparingly, saving this channel for more transactional communications and “special announcements.” But if people give you their email address, they expect you to use it.

Even if you don’t send a monthly newsletter, summer is a great time to kick off an email series about what’s going on in your church, discussing the big ideas from your latest sermon, starting a devotional, or even just promoting your upcoming service.

As long as you follow email best practices and make each email feels valuable, you’ll keep more of your members engaged during the summer months—and you may find more of them trickling into your service each week. But at the very least, you’ll keep your community on members’ minds.

Who knows? You might even decide to keep sending emails like these all year! For more on how your church can effectively use emails to keep people engaged during the summer, download the free Summer Slump Survival Guide today!

summer slump

Host community events

Your weekend service is important. And it’s worth planning around. But when church members plan vacations and other summer activities, it’s easy for them to feel like, “Well, there’s no harm in missing just one . . . or two.” They’re taking time off from all the other regular activities in their lives, after all.

But if you pack the summer with special events, church members will be more inclined to plan their activities around your schedule. And even if not, those who stick with you through the summer slump will come away with a stronger sense of belonging and community at your church.

You could invite local musicians—perhaps those in your church—to participate in a family-friendly concert. Or you could host a public BBQ in a local park. Or set up a carnival. Or an ultimate frisbee tournament.

Some events take months of preparation. But there are plenty of others that take so little prep you can launch them spontaneously. So why not start planning to fill this summer with fun ways for your church to gather as a community?

Use push notifications

If you have a church app, then you have access to a powerful engagement tool: Push notifications. Push notifications allow you to message your app users directly on their phones, even when the app isn’t open. These messages also link directly to your app, so if you want people to take an action—like register for an event, learn about small groups, or give, everything they need is a tap away.

It’s important to use push notifications wisely. You certainly don’t want to abuse this power. But your church members have numerous apps competing for their attention throughout the day—receiving push notifications is a normal, everyday experience for them. As with email, the key is to make sure each notification is valuable so people are happy to see them—not annoyed.

You could send notifications during the week, reminding people to join you on Sunday or even invite a friend who needs to hear about [insert topic of your sermon]. You could tell them what small groups are going through this summer, and how they can get involved in one. Or, of course, you could promote your big summer events.

Stay active on social media

When you have less face-to-face time with your congregation, social media becomes even more valuable. Whatever platforms you use, summer is the perfect time to:

  1. Instill FOMO (fear of missing out) in your unengaged members
  2. Help those who can’t attend feel like they’re still connected to your church

You could use Facebook Live to show what’s going on at your church throughout the week or to share extra notes and ideas that don’t fit into your sermon but are worth sharing. If you record your sermons, share snippets. If not, put quotes on slides.

A lot of churches hold back when it comes to social media. But keep in mind: Not everyone is going to see everything you post. And this is an ideal place to share virtually everything that’s going on in your church, whether you already mentioned them during the weekend service or not.

Get The Summer Slump Survival Guide for Churches

This season is notoriously hard on churches. There’s even a special name for what the summer months do to attendance and giving. But just because the temperature is in the red doesn’t mean your budget has to be, too.

To help you navigate the summer slump, we’re giving you a free survival guide.

Get your free copy of The Summer Slump Survival Guide for Churches today.

summer slump

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