Summer is just around the corner. We look forward to warmer weather, being outdoors, and taking time away from our routine work schedule. Busy people and busy families add another layer of activities to an already busy schedule. Children are home from school, and parents spend lots of time taking them to camps, sports, and other summer activities. We are good stewards of our time with friends and family. We are good stewards of exercise and relaxation.
However, summer is often a time when our stewardship to our churches is not as consistent leaving our churches with fewer resources, personal and financial, to do ministry. Attendance at worship and other activities is affected by the change in activities of our members. Because church offerings are a significant part of our worship, lower attendance can also mean less giving during the summer.
In preparation of his visit to Corinth, Paul instructed the Corinthians, “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and save whatever extra you earn, so that collections need not be taken when I come.” (I Corinthians 16:2). Giving is something we should do as a regular part of our week no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Setting aside our gift to God every week should not be forgotten when we are away from worship during the summer.
Here are some ways to keep your church from falling into a “summer slump:”
- Train your congregation to give regularly.
- Keep your congregation aware of the ministry that is ongoing in the summer.
- Anticipate visitors during the summer and the potential for growth
- Plan big events for the summer; don’t save all your big events for the fall.
- Provide ways for your congregation to give when they are away.
- Keep in touch with those who are not in worship.
- Teach about giving all year long.
Let’s think about some practical ways that you can encourage your congregation to give during the summer when they are away from worship.
- Provide an online method of giving through your church website.
- Encourage members to use their bank’s online bill pay for recurring payments to your church.
- Provide self-addressed envelopes for congregation members to use to mail their contributions in during the summer.
- Offer the opportunity for people to leave their giving payments at the church with instructions for when it can be deposited.
- Keep a giving jar/envelope with you while you are on vacation to put extra change from your summer activities to give to a special mission project when you get home.
- When possible, visit a church wherever you may be vacationing. Be sure to participate in their offering. They may also be having a “summer slump.”
Let’s make this summer an opportunity to be successful stewards of all that we have!
Deborah Rexrode, Associate for Stewardship
Presbytery of the James