Boost Summertime Church Involvement: How to Keep Church Members Engaged All Summer

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The long-awaited summer months bring warm days, family vacations and — unfortunately — waning church attendance. Is summertime church involvement an oxymoron? A Herculean challenge? It doesn’t have to be. Read on to discover a dozen hot tips for keeping church members engaged all summer long.

A Look at Summertime Church Involvement

Your church programs might not always be able to “compete” with barbecues, beaches and other outdoor activities. But with some planning and creativity, you can attract interest, impact lives and keep the pews warm this summer.

Maybe you already work to engage members and reach out to visitors and guests each summer. But if you’re trying to tackle that alone, you might miss your own summer vacation. The best approach is to assemble a team to assist with summertime efforts.

The main takeaway? Pastors and ministry leaders shouldn’t fear the so-called summer slump. Instead, enlist some trusted volunteers to help you take on specific challenges during June, July and August.

12 Ways to Keep Church Members Engaged All Summer Long

Boost church growth and involvement during summer — and beyond — with these practical pointers:

1. Embrace the summer season.

Stop viewing summer as a foe! Instead, tap into the season’s informal feel. Hold outdoor church services and events, and invite neighbors and community members. Worship services in the park, outdoor concerts, prayer meetings and church picnics are perfect for summer’s beautiful weather. These events provide a refreshing change of scenery, plus opportunities for fellowship and evangelism.

2. Offer flexible service times.

With many families away on vacations, long weekends at a summer house or camping trips, consider flexible service times. You might add a midweek evening service, for example. Then weekend adventurers can still participate in regular congregational worship. Another way to increase attendance in the summer involves switching up the worship format. Incorporate discussion times and multimedia presentations into services. Publicize theme Sundays, such as “Hawaiian Shirt Day” or “Red, White and Blue Sunday.” Also harness the connection potential of livestreaming and online sermons. Encourage congregants to tune in from their vacation spots. Afterward, during online fellowship time, people can update the church community about their travel experiences.

3. Preach a summer sermon series.

A well-planned summer series can spark interest and draw crowds. Popular themes include renewal, rest and creation. You might also preach or teach on a specific Bible book, Jesus’ parables or miracles, or hot topics related to Christian living. To boost participation and involvement, make the sermon series interactive. For example, during a series on faith journeys or evangelism, ask a few members to share their testimonies. Create anticipation by promoting the inspiring series. Use social media, e-newsletters and personal invitations to build excitement and boost attendance.

4. Host family-friendly summertime activities.

During summer, many families seek activities to do together. Kid-friendly events are bound to attract more people to your church. Vacation Bible School is a summer favorite — and a great way to minister to children while drawing in parents and volunteers. Conduct VBS follow-up with a simple ice cream social or game night. Other fun options that require minimal planning include an arts-and-crafts session and family movie night. If volunteers step up, hold a summer camp or sports tournament for kids. Fun community activities offer safe environments for children. Plus, they let families spend time together and meet new friends. Pro Tip: Be sure to promote these activities on the church calendar, in church and in local publications and social media channels.

5. Provide service opportunities.

Summer is ideal for ramping up your church’s outreach efforts. Organize community projects such as neighborhood clean-ups and food drives. Try volunteering somewhere new. Ask the youth group to present a slideshow about any mission trips they take. Volunteer activities make positive impacts while fostering purpose and unity within the church body. Serving together also strengthens relationships while helping members live out their faith in practical ways.

6. Maximize small-group gatherings.

Small groups are ideal for keeping people connected, especially in the summer. Encourage groups to keep meeting, perhaps in more casual settings such as parks or cafes. If your church doesn’t already have a small-group ministry, summer is a great time to start small. These gatherings promote spiritual growth, mutual support and deeper connections. Members can plan fun side outings, too, such as picnics, hiking or biking excursions.

7. Leverage social media.

Throughout the summer, use platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to connect with congregants and spark church growth. Share uplifting content, devotionals, church updates, event details and invitations. Other options: Encourage church members to share their summer experiences and how they’re staying connected to Jesus. Host Facebook Live sessions or Q&A times. Conduct virtual Bible studies to increase interaction. Create a hashtag for your summer activities and encourage church members to use it while sharing on social media.

8. Set challenges for the summer months.

A fun way to keep the congregation engaged with the church and their faith is a summer challenge! For example, use a summer Bible reading plan geared toward adults or children. Or try a service challenge for completing acts of kindness throughout the community. Provide resources for tracking progress and invite people to share their experiences. Then recognize and celebrate their achievements. These types of challenges are especially important if you can’t offer summer Sunday school for kids.

9. Encourage personal spiritual growth.

Summer is an ideal time for growing in faith. Suggest resources such as reading lists, devotional guides or online courses. Ask a volunteer to host a summer book club to attract visitors. Also encourage congregants — and church staff — to use vacation time for spiritual retreats or personal reflection. After all, spiritual growth doesn’t take a vacation!

10. Celebrate milestones and special occasions.

Summertime is filled with personal milestones. Acknowledge and celebrate occasions such as graduations, reunions, weddings and anniversaries. Receptions between or after worship services honor milestones and achievements while providing extra time for fellowship. Gathering to support Christian friends also builds a sense of belonging and appreciation. Pro Tip: If your church is marking a special anniversary this summer, spread the word early and often about the festivities.

11. Engage youth and young adults.

During the summer, teens and young adults seem busier than ever. Plan student ministry activities that appeal to their interests and schedules. Ideas include youth camps, concerts, outdoor adventure days and a Bible study around a bonfire or fire pit. Leadership and volunteer opportunities empower young people and deepen their connection to the church. Check in with them throughout the summer to ensure they feel valued and included.

12. Build anticipation for the fall.

Finally, use the summer to look ahead. Start building anticipation for the upcoming fall season of worship and Christian education. Tease upcoming sermon series, new classes and ministry events. This generates excitement and lets people consider how they might pitch in. As summer ends, you can conduct a school supply drive and host back-to-school events. And as autumn begins, a Rally Day or Back-to-Church Sunday will re-engage people who’ve been away and those who seek renewal. Kickoff celebrations are also ideal for launching new church initiatives.

Yes, summer may present some attendance challenges for a pastor or church leader. But it is possible to keep church members engaged and even make summer a special time of faith and growth. By capitalizing on the season’s unique opportunities, you can keep congregants connected to Jesus and to one another. Just remember to be flexible and enlist help from willing volunteers.

With thoughtful planning, creativity and consistent practice, summertime church involvement can flourish. Press on to make the most of this promising season!

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Stephanie Martin

Stephanie Martin, a freelance writer and editor in Denver, has spent her entire 30-year journalism career in Christian publishing. As senior editor of The Newsletter Newsletter and, she helps church administrators with their communication needs. Stephanie also covers current events from religious angles at She loves the Word and words, is a binge reader and grammar nut, and recently fulfilled a dream by appearing on Jeopardy! (She came in second.)

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