Ah, summer—the time of year when heat exhaustion drives families to the white sandy beaches and salty ocean air of the nearest coast. Baseball season is in full swing, the lake is overcrowded with boats, and sleeping late is a regular occurrence.
Unfortunately, all of this rest and recreation often leaves church pews empty and offering plates even emptier. Summertime requires pastors to confront the touchy subject of money as ministry simply can’t afford to take a vacation. Follow the guidelines below to avoid the dreaded summer giving slump.
Start Saving Now
Dave tells families who are expecting a baby or going through a job loss to pile up cash until things are back to normal. This is a good strategy for churches as well. Proverbs 21:20 says, “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”
If your church experiences a budget strain during the summer, then it’s time to get gazelle intense. Be prepared for the season ahead by setting aside extra funds wherever possible and only using them for emergencies.
Make It a “Can’t Miss” Summer
You can’t expect frequent reminders about the dangers of a summer slump to do the trick. Instead, use the pulpit and bulletin to announce what’s happening at your church in the coming months. Begin a message series focused on topics that connect with people on a deep level or answer important questions about their faith.
Organize churchwide picnics and family movie nights that build community. Talk it up and get excited; your enthusiasm as a pastor is contagious.
Keep In Touch With Those Who Do Miss
No matter how amazing your summer church schedule is, members will still go on vacation—and they should! Remind your congregation that they can listen to sermons online when traveling. Encourage small-group leaders to lovingly follow up with friends who are absent. This ensures that everyone feels welcome when they attend and greatly missed when they don’t.
Never attack the summer faithful or guilt-trip members into giving. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Create a Culture of Giving
The best way to prepare for a summer slump is to set an example of giving and inspire the congregation to follow. Decide how much money your church will give to others each month and budget accordingly. Then, be sure to teach about giving from God’s Word for a full understanding of why Christians give.
Provide opportunities for members to volunteer time during the summer; this helps offset costs and shows people that they can be generous even when they don’t have money.
Above all, trust that God will get you through to September. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”