We have a saying here at Nativity: “You’re always in a season.” Just as in nature, we always find ourselves in corresponding seasons of growth and fertility, seasons of maturation and harvest, seasons of decline and death. Knowing what “season” you and your church are in can be a great help for reflecting on the past and present as well as preparing for the future. Even on a secular level, retailers, for instance, know that customers are more likely to come on certain days, times, or seasons of the year, and so focus their attention and energy on making the most of the opportunity.
For whatever reason there seems to be a “mini-season” between Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day of increased attendance and activity at church. Maybe it was a great Easter experience that prompted a resolution to give church another try, or just the feeling of renewal, of getting up and active now that the last of winter is gone.
Here are a few ideas to take the full advantage of the spring season at your church.
A Season of Fellowship
Fellowship—sharing and growing together as a community—is one of the five purposes of the church (along with worship, service, evangelization, discipleship). When you know attendance will be high, focus on activities that build fellowship. Look for fun and enjoyable ways to introduce visitors to your community as well as deepen bonds between your regular attendees.
If your church indoor space is limited, take advantage of the nice weather and move outdoors. Pick a weekend to rent a tent, invite some local food trucks, and create an environment your parishioners and visitors can relax and play not limited to their usual Mass times or ministry circles.
A Season of Celebration
Liturgically, Easter is a season of celebration. So celebrate. Make celebration not just a one-day event but what the season actually is- 50 days of rejoicing. Find opportunities to celebrate what’s been good and what you look forward to for your church community. At Nativity, we are launching a new message series called “Vision” to help paint a positive picture of where we want our church to go. For someone who’s been away and just stepping back into the life of the church, witnessing joy and celebration can get them excited about what they’re getting themselves into.
A Season of Preparation
Now is the time people are making summer plans, not after summer starts. Summer matters for a church, and spring is the time to get the word out. Even though attendance drops in the summer in most places, the slower pace and more one-off programs like missions, youth camps and trips, summer Bible school, can encourage different faces to experience your community. Summer, in turn, can be a set up for more extensive participation in the fall. For example adults, summers at Nativity are times for hosting more flexible and short-term small groups and Bible studies, especially aimed at those who liked the idea but felt too busy during the rest of the year.
Make the most of the Easter “Season.”