Summer is right around the corner. School will be out soon and all of us will be spending a little more time working on our tan lines. But the warmer weather brings with it an unwanted side effect on every ministry: low attendance. Have you noticed that there seems to be a direct correlation between warm weather and church attendance? The temperature goes up, the attendance goes down.
If you’re like most student pastors, you have a love-hate relationship with the summer. It’s great to get outside, hang out by the pool, catch a baseball game… But it’s not great when three students show up on Wednesday night or Sunday morning.
And it’s at that point – when attendance is at an all-time low for the year – we’re tempted to slack off a bit. We’re tempted to go through the motions and wait for the new school year to start. You have a great idea for a message, but decide to save it for the fall. You have some extra time to invest in your small group leaders, but you decide to spend a few extra hours by the pool. After all, it’s the summer and only a few students are going to show up.
But we want to encourage you to approach this summer a little differently. This summer doesn’t have to be “just another summer” – you can be intentional and effective during this season of ministry, too.
It all starts with a change in perspective. Effective ministry doesn’t happen when your environment is maxed out with students. Intentional conversations don’t happen just because every student shows up for small group. Effectiveness and intentionality happen when we care enough to put in the effort needed to make it happen.
Students need to hear the Truth during the summer just as much as they need to in the fall. The students that show up when it’s 80° outside need to have meaningful small group conversations just as much as they need to when it’s 32° outside.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we can’t take breaks and spend some time enjoying the sunny weather. But it does mean making a conscious decision to care about what happens in the lives of the students that do show up.
Don’t let this summer be “just another summer.” Let’s make this summer count. So lather up with that SPF 50 and enjoy the warmer days (in your one-piece swimsuit, of course). And then get back to preparing for Sunday. Because what happens on Sunday matters on Monday, even during the summer.