There is usually a slump in a congregation during the summer. People get lazy and sleep in or feel there is something better to do with their time on a sunny Sunday. Others are on vacation. Others have people visiting them. All congregations see it and I’m wondering how other preacher’s deal with it.
This summer has been one of the worst in my four years here at Trinity. I don’t know if it is because people are taking more vacation or they are staying home more. This summer instead of losing 1/3 of my congregation we have been losing about 1/2. This means our 90 member average has been down to around 50 this summer. 50 people in a sanctuary that could sit at its peak over 200 is empty. Large massive holes in the congregation appear, which also let’s you know which family is at the beach.
What sucks about this is my energy from behind the pulpit. I’m not a dramatic and flamboyant preacher. Like my personality, I’m laid back but there is still a lot of energy that is put into preaching, since I’ve always hated speaking in front of people. But the energy I get back from the congregation helps me through that. When there are 50 people there and they are all 400 yards a part from one another, in their assigned seats, it is hard to get any type of energy from them. There is a lot of energy put out and not much returned.
I end up feeling much more drained after a summer service than I do during the other 9 months of the year. I wrote about this last year about how I was trying to avoid this feeling but this year I’m not trying anything special or new, due to a new music director and to save up some ideas for the fall.
I know that when two or more are gathered God is there. But it is still disheartening. I know that it isn’t anything I’m doing but it is hard to not get down over the summer. A little worship depressed. In a couple of weeks it will be normal once again. But the wait is killing me. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder and if that is the case, I would love my whole congregation to come back soon.