The Summer Slump. Every church leader knows exactly what those words mean. It means a drop in attendance, decreased participation, and reduced giving. According to statistics shared by LifeWay, when compared to highest attendance months, average Sunday morning attendance drops by 23 percent in June and 34 percent in July.
This can be demoralizing to a church leader, as well as financial administrators, as the ministry attempts to make progress toward the vision with less people and money. If an unexpectedly deep summer slump is experienced, it can impact the church’s ability to build momentum in the fall as energy and funds are needed to replenish unplanned losses.
In a recent survey, we asked churches of all sizes and denominations how they handle the summer slump. The answers varied from “waving the white flag of surrender” to “taking out a loan” to “doing nothing!"
So, what is a church leader to do? Some leaders have taken a passive approach saying, “Let’s just see how it works out.” This has come with varying outcomes, but usually delivers less than desirable results. However, there is a way that could prove profitable. We’ll call it the “Proverbs 21:5 Road Map” – a way to Stop the Summer Slump, or at least prevent summer slumps from zapping all of the momentum from your church.
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5
In Proverbs 21:5, Solomon shares two potential outcomes: profit or poverty. If given the choice, of course, we would all choose profit over poverty. In this verse, great wisdom is provided to show us how to produce profit. Solomon says it is important to have a plan. Read Proverbs 21:5 again. Do you see it?
This is our first clue to Stop Summer Slumps: We must have a plan! Do you have a plan to address the summer slump at your church? If you do, fantastic! If you do not, a free resource has been prepared to help you craft a great plan.
But, as we read Proverbs 21:5 again, we see that one more thing is necessary to achieve profit: diligence. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit...” Even if we prepare a great plan, it will fall short if we don’t stick with its implementation.
This summer, make it your goal to develop a plan to stop the slump, and implement systems so it will be followed with diligence. If you do this, you will be well on your way to profit – positive momentum, increased attendance, giving, and engagement with ministry initiatives!