In my congregation the summer is a time when many families head east to the beach. I know at least a handful that will spend 3-4 weeks at their beach house or they will go for at least two weeks. I know others who are off camping in their RVs or visiting their families. The summer is a time to go and although gas prices may cut into the national stats, it doesn’t seem to be slowing my flock down.
The truth is vacation is not the only thing holding people back from coming to church. Its summer. Pools are open. The sun comes up early and goes down late. People enjoy taking a break from life during the summer.
What this ends up meaning is very low attendance on Sundays. The first two quarters of the year we averaged 87 people a Sunday. The highest number was 129. So far in June we have averaged 65. That is a 25% drop. Last year I really didn’t know what to expect in my first summer and I was too busy learning who everyone is to really care. This year though I can look out in to the pews and it feels empty. That emptiness equals painful silences, awkward hymn singing, and not much emotional feedback during the sermon.
I am trying not to get frustrated. I have been told it is simply that time of year for the church but it is starting to work on me. I thought I would float a couple of questions out there to my fellow brothers and sisters in the blogosphere.
– Do you experience similar and as dramatic shifts in your congregation during the summer months?
– Do you change your sermon style or texts during the summer months?
– Do you know of ways getting people in the pews? Not reaching out to new people but to keep your regular attenders, attending regularly?
I know there may be some people out there thinking, worship is worship no matter how many people are there. Where 2 or more are gathered… Yes I know. The trouble is I can tell I’m not the only one feeling it. Those who do come week in and week out can have a different demeanor about them as well…almost dragged down because of the lack of people at church.
I would love some suggestions.