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Summer Mode is not Sleep Mode

May 28, 2015

I have a friend who is Pastor of a big Church. He says it “sleeps” 700. This is a sadly common description of many Catholic congregations: asleep. Churches that need waking up have prevailing cultures of detachment and shallow commitment which almost always includes large numbers of people coming late and leaving early for weekend services and a lack of attention and participation during the services (among other problems like poor volunteerism and low giving).

It’s almost June, and anyone who works in a church knows that with vacations, camps, and trips to the pool, summer attendance and participation slows down considerably. Every church faces the challenge of letting summer mode slide further into “sleep mode.”

Even with fewer programs and lighter crowds, summer can positively be an opportunity for your church to look alive, committed, and engaged. Here are just a few ideas.

1. Get Out of (or Into) Town

Summers are a great time for doing and promoting missions. For parish teens and adults, Nativity  offers opportunities to serve locally, nationally, and internationally. Missions provide a memorable summer experience, increase community presence, and generate great stories you can incorporate into preaching. If your church has never planned your own mission, find another church or organization to partner with at first. And make sure your congregation is aware of what’s going on, even if they aren’t involved.

2. Summer School Your Staff

Look for opportunities for staff development. Take advantage of the summer pace and encourage staff to find time to learn and train on a new skill. Many Christian colleges and institutions host valuable summer programs specifically catered toward busy church leaders.

3. Clean Up

Sounds obvious, but just get a dumpster and clean out those closets, cupboards, and rooms where old junk piles up. We do it every year, and believe it or not, it’s one of my favorite summer activities. Transition into the fall unencumbered by things you don’t need. Find ways to let the clean up and construction give the impression that you’re growing and planning rather than having a liquidation sale.

 Summer mode doesn’t have to mean sleep mode. Let the summer appear as the time you look outward (missions) and forward (training and planning). If you do these things, we promise you won’t be sorry how you spent your summer.

Share some more ideas in the comments.

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