III Timothy

This blog is dedicated to helping youth pastors and young pastors improve their congregations and groups, and to provide analysis of world events. Brought to you by oddparts.com, the Christian Source for Bulk Inkjet Ink and Toner Refills.

My Photo
Location: The Warehouse, Ohio, United States

Our primary writer is a weatherbeaten veteran of the Rodent Wars, where he became highly decorated for the destruction of many vicious rodents. Now that he is retired, he sneaks onto his blog every night and writes about world events.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer Breaks?

At many churches we've attended, we've noticed that the habit of the church is to take a break from many church activities during the summer. The choir stops performing; the Bible studies stop meeting.

When I've asked "why?", I usually get an answer something like this:
"Nobody wants to come in the summer."
"We need a break."
"Attendance is down during the summer."

Undoubtedly this is so. But I've also seen this become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you cut out the normal routine for the summer, you send the message that summer services are optional, that Bible studies are optional. Your average attendance will naturally fall as people begin to go to the lake rather than go to church. Unfortunately, some of those people won't return in September.

But what else can you do?

Take advantage of the fact that many people have extra time during the summer. School children and schoolteachers are not working their normal routine, so many extra activities can be scheduled.

Consider this:
  • In addition to the normal Vacation Bible School, have special weekday sessions for the children. Let one person teach handbells to the kids - let another work up a really good kids musical program. Add an ongoing kids class one day a week to prepare for first communion or for baptism.
  • Have a Mother's day out program for the Mothers.
  • Pull together a woman's chorus just for the summer composed of those that can meet during the day.
  • Invite in students from a local Christian college or seminary to handle services.
  • Schedule traveling Gospel groups.
  • Add a regular Christian movie night on a weekday evening during the summer. Take a classic movie, introduce it, watch it, and talk about it.

In short, change your program, but keep up attendance through new and creative ideas!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Getting Some Excitement in a church

The first thing that is needed in a Congregation is excitement. The people need to have a sense that there is a strong purpose for coming to the church. And the biggest, easiest way to get excitement in a Congregation is to let people know the good things that are happening in their friends lives.

In many small churches and groups, the first order of business is "prayer requests." The next thing we hear is a list of cancers, heart attacks, car wrecks, and other physical problems recited by members. What a way to enliven a service! Start with a bunch of people who have been happily talking to each other and remind them of how bad things are!

In good churches, we start a bit differently. The first order of business is "Tell us what good things you have to be thankful for this week!" Encourage a recitation of birthdays, anniverseries, sunny weather, "rain for the lawn", visitors who came in from out-of-town, answers to prayer, etc. Take 5 minutes to tell the good things that God has done. (Then, you can go to the cancer list recitation.)

Emphasize baptisms and people joining the church. Make them an important event at each service. Let people talk who have newly committed to Christ. They are excited and that excitement will transfer to others.

Talk about successful events - don't emphasize the fact "we raised $465 for the new carpet", but emphasize the fact that "over fifty people showed up, including about 10 new visitors".