Note: This is part two of a two-part article. For part one, click here.
Would you like June, July and August to be months of strength and growth for your church?
It's possible ... It should be.
The following are the last four ways we make summer the best time of the year:
6. Party...in a good way.
May is best, but early June still works for a Volunteer Appreciation Party. We've done everything. Here are a few of our best ideas. One might work for you:
- Big party at the nearby YMCA with swimming, hamburgers and hotdogs, and games for the whole family.
- Servant celebration in the auditorium with a red carpet, parade of volunteers, encouraging message from me and lots of confetti. (I don't recommend the confetti. It took days to clean up!)
- Free tickets to a San Diego Padres Game. We all sat together. I threw out the opening pitch. (I don't recommend the Padres!)
We've found that we like to repeat a party the second year. People are excited when they get to do what happened last year. But by the third year, the sparkle has worn off, and it's time to do something new.
We do one all-church servant celebration in the late spring. And we encourage ministry leaders to celebrate their teams at a Christmas party at the end of the year. That way our volunteers go to two parties a year where they are thanked and celebrated. That keeps our volunteers feeling good and ready to serve again for the next ministry season.
Baptism and Barbecue
In Southern California, the baptism is at the beach and the barbecue is hamburgers and hot dogs.
In other places, you know the meaning of real barbecue, and your baptism may be in a lake, a river or a swimming pool.
But two things remain the same:
- the spiritual work that is accomplished in the baptism
- and the community that is built through the meal.
We have baptisms throughout the year in our building, but the biggest, best one is in the summer at the beach.
Small Groups Parties
Friends spend time together, so encourage your small groups to have some fun during the summer.
- dinner at someone's house
- having a game night
- or spending the day at the beach or the lake.
Summer is time for fun, and we want to be built up and built together, so use the summer days to have fun together. Be sure newcomers are always included.
7. Develop leaders.
Summer is the best time of the year for leadership development. Mostly because it's the ramp-up for the busy fall season of ministry. Also because regular programs are taking a break, and that gives you a window to offer opportunities for seasoned and rising leaders.
The people you develop in the summer will be in place to serve in the fall.
I got tired of only taking a few to an out-of-state leadership conference, so we started buying the DVDs of a few major conferences and hand-picking the sessions that communicate what I want to build into my congregation.
Instead of reaching less than a dozen, a couple hundred will participate. It's more work, but it's less expensive and way more productive.
You can get my thinking in an article I wrote way back when we started our own leadership conference in 2010 in my post "10 Reasons to Hold your own Church Leadership Conference."
Dan Reiland, author of Amplified Leadership, says that the best way to help people grow in their leadership roles is to read a leadership book together.
Summer is great time to do that.
I also wrote an article about summer leadership reading groups around a book by the leadership gurus Kouzes and Pozner. The book is called Learning Leadership and the article is "How to do Easy, Effective Leadership Development." In the article, I include a free download that outlines the first group discussion of the book.
8. Rotate vacations.
We need to get out of town.
Everyone needs to get out of town.
Just don't let the everybodies all go at the same time. Ask your staff to coordinate their vacation times in advance with whoever keeps track of your staff vacation time. Make it a policy that people spread out their vacations.
If your primary leaders are volunteers, you can't control their vacations, but you can talk with them in the spring about coordinating their vacation plans with the church's plans so they won't miss anything.
I try to get away in June and in early September. There's a lull in June, but July is busy with Kids Camp and Beach Baptism, and by August new Marines are in town and the kids are back in school, so we're ramping up for fall. Even though things are ramping up, I've found I can sneak away the week after Labor Day and be back in time for our fall campaign and small groups launch.
Here's the title of an article I wrote about pastors taking a summer vacation: "Why Pastors Should Get Away Every Summer—And How to Make it Work."
9. Plan for the fall.
We're back around to Proverbs 20:4 and the biblical principle of plowing in summer to harvest in fall.
Look beyond your summer events to make plans for the fall.
Here's the title of an article that will help you be ready to have a great harvest next fall: "13 Things to do Now to Attract Newcomers in the Fall."
You can plan strategically so summer is a time of health and growth for your church.
Attendance may go down in the summer as everyone rotates through vacations, but there is no need for momentum, community, giving or ministry to go down.
Just plan a few strategic events that will make time with your church family fun and life-changing.
This article originally appeared at pastormentor.com.
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