I don’t watch much TV during the summer. There are shows like NCIS that I follow during the year. But once they show the season ending cliffhanger, I tune out until the new season begins in the fall.
I think some people approach church in the same manner. They may be regular attenders during the school year, but once Memorial Day shows up on the calendar, they check out until Labor Day.
In some respects, churches contribute to the “summer vacation from church” approach. Some churches shutter their Sunday School programs and small group Bible studies during the summer months. Others close down their mid-week children’s programs and youth programs. If people don’t come, they reason, why offer the program?
On the one hand, I agree that people need a break during the summer. Yes, we should pause some of our programs in order to let our faithful workers catch their breath. On the other hand, we should gear up and offer more creative programs because children and youth are more available during the summer months.
While our church takes a hiatus from Awana during the summer, we offer an Awana camp and a VBS—Vacation Bible School program. We do some of our most creative and intentional outreach to children during July and August. Our youth group heads out on a summer ministry trip in between these two events. One ministry may take a breather while another steps into the gap.
In terms of preaching, I try not to let the size of the audience determine the effort I put into my sermon. During the summer months, I want people to feel like they missed out on a great message or worship service, rather than tune out because “it’s only the summer reruns.” While it was purely coincidental that I began a new series on the life of Abraham this past Sunday, it’s probably not a bad idea for the future to offer a summer series that is new and different.