5 Ways to Make the Most of the Summer Months

summer months

Just because ministry is slowing down, doesn’t mean that pastors can’t take advantage of summer to grow their church and themselves.

The summer months are coming soon. In most churches, that means lower attendance. With lower attendance comes a bit of a slower pace of ministry. 

Some churches try to fight this. But maybe, instead of fighting the summer, you should embrace it.

Just because ministry is slowing down, doesn’t mean that pastors can’t take advantage of summer to grow their church and themselves. 

Here are a few ways how.

1. Don’t Overschedule. 

One of the biggest mistakes that I see churches make in the summer is trying to fill the calendar with activities to make up for the feeling of inactivity.

Don’t pack the calendar. Families are busy, and that’s OK. Many people are out of town. Many people are exhausted from the pace of the school year that they don’t want more activities to do.

Give yourself and the church some breathing room. Give people the gift of time by not adding too much extra to their plate. 

Instead of throwing more events at people, try joining in with the natural rhythms that they are already a part of. Maybe you could swim at a local pool, work out at a local gym, or participate in some other activity that your community does in the summer. 

While you are around people in the community, you can be on the lookout for evangelistic opportunities and other ways your church could serve the community.

2. Attendance Is Down, but Relationships Are Up.

Instead of focusing on the people who are not at church in the summer, you have the opportunity to spend more time focusing on relationships with the people who are there.

Use summertime as a natural season for strengthening relationships and building community in your church.

Invite people over for a BBQ. Go to your neighbor’s pool party. Accept the invitations to go to the lake, beach, camping, golfing, or wherever.

If you focus on relationships in the summer while attendance is down, don’t be surprised if attendance goes up in the fall once everyone is back in town. 

A healthy season of community building in the summer can plant seeds for a strong season of growth in the fall.

3. Take a Vacation.

Most pastors are overworked, overtired, and plagued by anxiety. Many rarely ever take time off. And when they do, they are never really off.

In today’s world, the pastor is always a phone call, text message, email, Zoom call, or social media direct message away. If you don’t take God’s command to rest seriously, you’ll burn yourself out.

Do yourself and your family a favor and take a vacation—a real vacation. Things like mission trips, church camps, or vacation Bible school don’t count, even if the word “vacation” is in the name. 

Turn off your phone, leave the laptop at home, and get away somewhere to spend some quality time with your family.

Even if you are strapped for cash and can’t afford the gasoline to go anywhere, unplug and have a staycation at home. 

My family and I have started an annual staycation tradition and it has become one of our favorite times of the year. Each day we plan a different activity together, and we do nothing but relax, play, eat, and enjoy time together. It’s great!

Forget about ministry for a brief moment. Relax. Spend time enjoying God’s creation. Take joy in the blessings He has given you. Enjoy creating memories with your family.

4. Get Ahead on Planning.

This isn’t a vacation, but it will take a lot of stress off the rest of the year. Take advantage of a slower summer pace to get ahead on sermon preparation. If you need help, check out my course that walks you through how to do it. 

Get out a calendar and plan all of the fall church events, activities, sermons, special classes, missions trips, and whatever else you need to do. You don’t have to have all of the details right now, but you can at least pencil in the dates and step back to look at the big picture of what your church will be doing.

Get ahead while you can, because summer will be over before you know it. A crazy back-to-school season followed by an even busier holiday season is right around the corner.

Planning ahead now will make the more stressful seasons less stressful. 

5. Read More. 

Pick up some good books. There’s nothing better than reading some good books over the summer. If your reading list is getting low, the summer is a great time to restock. Or if you are like me and your pile of books to read is getting too big, the summer is a great time to catch up.

Don’t feel guilty about reading books on topics that you will be preaching about in the fall. However, do yourself a favor and pick up some others that are purely enjoyable or interesting to you and may never be used in a sermon.

If you like fiction, read fiction. If you like leadership books, read leadership books. If you want to spend extra time in God’s Word, spend more time reading the Bible.

Go ahead and read for intellectual, spiritual, and personal development, but take some time this summer to read for enjoyment as well.

Summer can be a great time to focus on your personal growth and development, and one of my favorite ways to do that is simply to read good books.

How will you take advantage of the summer months?

Read more from Brandon Hilgemann »

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This article originally appeared on ProPreacher.com and is reposted here by permission.