Maintaining Your Easter Momentum Through Summer
April 10 |
Summer may bring sunny days and fun-filled vacations, but for churches, it can be a challenging time. With members taking off for travel and relaxation, attendance and engagement levels at church can decrease, resulting in a dip in giving. Everyone calls this season the summer slump. And we even have, too. But we want to equip you for a summer of success, and that starts with talking about the season with hopeful expectancy! Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death,” so we’re calling it quits on the term “summer slump” and instead approaching this season with a positive outlook.
Once that language shift happens, the next step is to turn those words into action! And there’s something you can do today to kickstart a summer of success. By tapping into your data from Easter, you can maintain your Easter momentum all summer long.
A Successful Summer Starts at Easter
Data can be a powerful discipleship tool. In our 2023 State of Church Technology report, Church Management and Donor Software usage has actually increased 4% over the past year, compared to the 19 other tools that stayed the same or fell in usage from the previous year. That’s because donor management (and the data that drives it) helps churches make informed decisions that will help them grow and support their congregants.
With a clear understanding of their data, church leaders connect with their members individually to increase generosity and engagement. Instead of guessing or following the lead of other churches, you can intentionally communicate and nurture your community. The data you collect on Easter (and every Sunday after!) can set your church up for success through the summer season.
Planning for the Summer
Planning for the summer season is just as important as planning for the big holidays like Easter. With many families traveling and taking time off, it’s crucial to have a solid summer plan in place to keep engagement and attendance thriving. Here are 6 ways for churches to start planning for summer now, a successful and impactful season.
1. Refine your hybrid experience
Summer is one of the best times of the year for online worship. While congregants are traveling and vacationing, hybrid worship services offer the flexibility to choose what works best for their schedule and location. It may be time for some spring cleaning when it comes to your hybrid worship! Does your church have good lighting, microphones, and cameras for your streams? Do you have “pre-service” slides with announcements or a countdown for attendees who join before the service starts? Is your stream interrupted by buffering? Are there staff members who are dedicated to audience engagement and responding to questions in the live stream?
Test your live stream before Sunday’s big service to spot any issues. And after Sunday’s service ends, check in with the staff or volunteers overseeing your online audience engagement to see if they have any feedback for ways to continue serving your online members.
2. Develop a summer calendar
With the warm weather coming, summer is full of opportunities for events to foster deeper connections. Before the season starts, plan a few events, from big summer events like VBS and cookouts to smaller church programs like in-person and virtual small groups. But don’t cram your calendar. The biggest mistake churches make in the summer is trying to fill the calendar with activities to make up for the quietness of the season. Families are busy, and that’s okay. Instead of throwing more events at people, join in on the celebrations they already have on their calendars, like the end of the school year celebrations or the 4th of July.
3. Recruit volunteers
Once you have your calendar laid out for the summer, it’s time to enlist some help! Your usual volunteers have been serving all year, and they need a break. Other church members are starting to make plans for their summer, so encourage them to add serving in the church to that list. Announce the volunteer opportunities during your services, emails, and social media. You can also use volunteering as a next step for newbies (like those who attended for the first time on Easter!) to get plugged into your community. Here are 10 steps to give every volunteer what they need.
4. Review and adjust budgets
Summer’s almost here, so we’re almost halfway through the year. Is your giving where you anticipated it would be? Have you run into any new expenses? Take time to review your overall budget and make sure you have funds allocated for your summer events. And based on what you find, you may want to launch a new giving campaign. Whether you need to raise money for an upcoming mission trip or to break ground on a new church building, a fundraising campaign invites people to give over the summer and be a part of something bigger. Plus at the end of the summer you can celebrate the results and show your members the impact of their generosity.
A lot of churches anticipate a slower pace of giving over the summer, but it doesn’t have to be. More and more churches are experiencing steady or increased summer participation and giving because they’re effectively engaging their community members long before June rolls around. And they’re using their data to do it. With deeper engagement all year, members are more likely to stay active, engaged, and generous over the summer months. With an established process to nurture your members, you can say goodbye to sweating and stressing over your budget this summer.
5. Check your tech
Technology plays a crucial role in keeping your community connected, no matter the season. But your church is changing, and tech needs to be able to support that change. It’s the only way to continue growing and reaching your goals.
If you wait until June to check on your church software and it doesn’t meet your needs, you’re stuck with two not-so-great options. You might have to limp along all summer with software you know isn’t supporting your ministry. Or, if you make the switch over the summer, you may find yourself struggling to implement those necessary changes when your congregation is least engaged. Don’t wait until the summer to assess the effectiveness of your tools. Take the time now to ensure that everything is up-to-date, running smoothly, and effectively supporting your ministry before the summer starts. Get started with our blog How To Reevaluate Your Church’s Tech Toolkit to make sure your ministry has the support you need during the summer.
6. Unplug and take a vacation
You may feel like there’s never a good time to take a vacation. There’s a common feeling that the demands of ministry are constant and preparing to take time off may feel like it’s more work than it’s worth. According to Lifeway Research, 84% of pastors say they’re on call 24 hours a day. 53% find the role of a pastor “frequently overwhelming.” That’s why taking a break is so crucial.
Summer is the perfect season to prioritize rest. Follow the rhythm of your church’s calendar, and give yourself a break when ministry work is slowing down. It doesn’t have to be a trip to a tropical paradise (although that would definitely be relaxing!); a staycation can be just as restful. Take some time to enjoy the summer weather, relax, and forget about ministry for a short while. You’ll return from your break renewed and ready to keep growing the Kingdom.
Trade Summertime Stress for Success
As we look forward to the sunny summer months, let’s commit to making it a season of renewal and success instead of fear. With the right support, you can carry the momentum of your Easter services through the summer and continue making an impact in your community. See how Pushpay can help your church maximize your Easter momentum and take advantage of the season ahead!