3 Ways Your Church Can Fight the Summer Slump

3 Ways Your Church Can Fight the Summer Slump

It happens every year. School gets out. The weather gets nicer. And suddenly half your congregation doesn’t show up on Sunday.

The summer slump is inevitable. But the annual drop in attendance doesn’t have to mean giving takes a nosedive, too. And there are things you can do in advance to help your congregation stay more connected, even when you’re apart. Here are three ways your church can prepare for the summer slump.

1. Create a summer event calendar

When people plan summer vacations, they try to miss as few events as possible. But this is only possible if they know about the events before they plan their trips. If your church has several big events throughout the summer months and you tell people about them well in advance, you give your congregation more motivation to make their summer schedule work with yours—and you might even draw in some new faces to offset the members you’re missing.

The key is to create events that are worth planning around and to make them visible with plenty of time for people to prepare. Maybe you could host a church BBQ, an outdoor baptism, a family carnival, a concert with local bands, a retreat, sports leagues, a day at the lake, an entertainment night, or all of the above.

This is where an events tab in your church app is extremely helpful: People can see everything that’s going on in your church with just a few taps on their phone. You can even start building hype for your summer events before you have official dates (like right now), so people are already thinking about spending their summer with you.

2. Encourage app downloads

Your church app is a digital hub for your congregation to see what’s happening at your church, read or watch your content, stream your service online, and get more involved. It also gives you a powerful new way to communicate with your members: Push notifications.

Push notifications are messages that appear on someone’s phone if they have your app—even when the app isn’t open. That means you can send people reminders about upcoming events, invitations to watch a live stream of your service, encouragement to give, or whatever else you want to tell them about.

This can be a great way to curb low attendance and giving, but it’s only possible when your church members download your app.

And of course, when your app lets people give online, it doesn’t matter if someone isn’t physically there to pass the plate—they can still give.

3. Promote recurring giving

The summer slump is a sharp drop in church attendance. But one of the biggest side-effects is a huge decline in giving. This only occurs because churches have spent decades training people that tithing happens when they pass the offering plate. Even if someone feels deeply led to give regularly, they aren’t used to giving any other way.

But when they go on vacation, they’re still going to pay their bills. All the other transactions they make regularly are still going to happen. It’s easy to make these important payments happen automatically.

Giving to your church should be just as simple. If you provide an online giving option, most solutions make it easy to set up recurring giving—which means the donation happens automatically every month. Pushpay even sets recurring giving as the default, so the easiest way to give becomes the norm. Your church members can set what day they’d like their donation to occur each month, so it lines up with paydays, bills, or whatever is most convenient for them.

When recurring giving makes it this easy to donate to your church, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that recurring givers donate 42 percent more over the course of the year than one-time donors.

Watch our webinar on recurring giving

For most churches, less than half their members give regularly. That means even a small increase in the number of recurring givers can have a huge impact on your church budget. If you want to decrease the setback from this year’s summer slump, recurring giving is one of the best ways to do that.

Check out our free webinar on recurring giving to learn more.

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Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson has been a volunteer youth leader with Young Life for nearly a decade. He writes in the Pacific Northwest, where he lives with his wife and twin boys.