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There are a lot of well-meaning people who will try and tell you that your church can grow through the summer. Perhaps their church will. Perhaps your church could. But maybe pressing the gas pedal down through the summer isn’t the best plan.

Maybe your church shouldn’t try to go hard and grow through the summer (at least in terms of attendance). Maybe your church could leverage the summer slump.

In fact here are three ways we believe your church can embrace and leverage the summer slump:

Training

With the exception of a VBS, sports camp, or mission trip, the summer is generally a slower season. Sometimes small groups or classes suspend meeting, and other ministries take a bit of a hiatus. This is a great time to make space for training.

Don’t assume you would have to get 100% attendance at a team training to make it worthwhile. If you could get 60-70% of your small group leaders or teachers in a training so that they’re more effective in the fall, wouldn’t that be worth it? Absolutely!

Additionally, you can video the training and use a tool like TrainedUp by ServeHQ so that people who are absent can watch the training on their own schedule.

Summer is a great time to do targeted training and development of skills. In the busier ministry seasons, it can feel burdensome to make the time. Leverage the summer slump to help your teams grow and get critical training.

Planning

Summer is a great time to get ahead on planning. Every ministry can leverage the summer slump to plan ahead.

Plan your sermon calendar through the end of December. Have your creative team plan out special Sundays or get ahead in planning creative elements like videos or prop designs. Have the student ministry get ahead in planning the fall retreat and weekly youth lessons. Have the children’s ministry review their scope and sequence for curriculum.

Even better, get your senior leadership team together to envision the next ministry season. On your own or with an outside facilitator, take a couple of days to dream and plan out the fall and spring of the next year. Again, this may feel difficult because of vacation schedules and holidays. But if we change our standard from “everyone would have to be there” to “most would have to be there,” chances are good you could find a great two-day stint for planning.

Resting

Some will tell you to try and grow through the summer slump. I would tell you to rest in the summer slump. God has designed Creation to have seasons. Trees go dormant in winter. You need a season of rest.

Take the summer to train. Use it to plan. But also use it to rest.

If you have kids, work shorter days and play with them at the pool. They’re only little once.

Read. Read for fun. Your brain needs margin to innovate. If you press the gas all year round, you’ll never be able to stimulate a new idea that could radically move your church forward.

Use the summer slump to build in time for extra rest. It’s allowed. It’s necessary.


Some will say your church should be growing all year round. And perhaps it will.

Today, we want to set you free from that pressure. Embrace the summer slump. Leverage the summer slump for the things you can do best in the slump: train, plan, and rest.


Scott Ball is the Director of Services and a Lead Guide with TMG. He lives in East Tennessee with his wife and two children. (Email Scott)