Make This the Last Down Summer
By Nathan Camp
For many Pastors, this word strikes a cord of dread. Summer is the time when our church attendance goes down. Summer is the time when our tithes and offerings go down. Summer is the time of year when, for many, our discouragement rises while so many things around us go down. Summer.
But what if there is a better way? What if summer was a time to be in dread but a time to be in faith? What if summer is the result of harvesting throughout the first of the year? What if we could get off the treadmill of fearing summer and make summer something we look forward to each year?
Today, I want to give us three simple steps to make this our last “down” summer.
1. Keeping Financial Clarity
Often times summer is so hard on pastors because it sneaks up on them. They get caught off guard. The start of summer implies that our attendance will go down. It’s not personal. Almost every church will experience some numerical loss during summer. It’s not even a commentary on your church - it’s a simple reality of the church calendar.
For many churches, tithes, and offerings will decrease, creating financial strain.
However, what often has the most significant downside effect on the pastor is not that these numbers go down but that this dip was not prepared for.
That’s why having financial clarity in the first half of the year is our first step toward making this the last down summer.
If we know that summer is coming - we can prepare for it. We can work hard in the year's first half to set clear financial goals to cover our expenses and fund our expansions during those times.
This is where a bookkeeper is a great asset to the pastor. The bookkeeper is the one who can reconcile the books and report on the financial status of the church throughout the first half of the year. This will give the pastor the financial clarity they need to lead themselves and their church into being prepared for the inevitable summer months.
Many pastors with bookkeepers will confess that summer is a great time because they have led their income and expenses in the first half of the year to position the church to have everything it needs to meet its financial goals during the summer.
To have financial clarity, many pastors need the position of cash flow, profit and loss, balance sheets, and budget reporting. Without this kind of reporting, the pastor is often flying blind.
Make the time now to set up these reports and ensure they are accurate and being sent to you on a timely basis.
If you need help finding a bookkeeper, please call StartCHURCH today, and we will make sure you have a plan to have the financial clarity you need to lead through the summer slump.
2. Establishing Online Giving
One of the wonderful things about the internet is that it allows people to engage in your church, even when they are not physically nearby. This has been a big help in the post-COVID world, as online church services have grown exponentially. Churches can keep their members engaged in the vision and mission of their church, even while they are on vacation.
And, when it specifically comes to being financially prepared for summer, there are few things as helpful as having a strong, online giving plan.
The truth is, with an easy-to-use online giving platform, every church member can continue to bring their tithes and offerings, even during vacation. This needs to be simple and easy to use.
Important: Don’t wait until summer to start talking about online giving. Have online giving available in the first half of the year as soon as possible. And then, encourage yourself to preach on its validity. Sometimes religious attitudes toward giving make people think God only accepts an offering if it's given inside a church building. But that’s not true. This is a great place to teach clearly how people can give to your ministry. Also, help people see the power of setting up a recurring, automatic giving profile that keeps them current in their tithes and offerings, even when they are away.
3. Stay In Touch
The last great way to help people stay connected financially to your church during the summer and to prepare you not to have a significant loss over the summer is by sending out mid-year giving statements.
This is important for three reasons:
A. A Mid-Year giving statement helps people see the truth. Sending out a mid-year giving report helps our donors see how much they have given to the ministry. This is where many people will discover whether they are a tither. The Mid-year giving statement is an excellent way for our donors to get clarity on their giving.
B. A Mid-Year giving statement helps people connect with the church's vision and goals, even while traveling. This is a great chance to discuss progress toward capital campaigns, church initiatives, and the like. Make sure people remember to pray for and give toward the ministries and focuses of the church. This mid-year reminder is huge toward keeping your momentum through the summer.
C. A Mid-Year giving statement helps people remember to give. Many people want to be givers and tithers but get away from the boxes or buckets at the church building and stop giving. This is more of a practical reality than anything else. With a Mid-year giving statement, you can help remind people of the different ways they can support the church financially, even during the vacation days of summer.
The Bible says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
The truth is, summer is coming. It’s inevitable. But summer doesn’t have to be something we fear. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be downtime IF we do the right things on the first of the year. If we make sure to keep financial clarity through good financial reporting and planning, if we establish online giving now, - and get our attendees comfortable with this before summer gets here - and if we stay in touch with people and not allow the vision to drift or our relational connection to wane - this can be your last down summer!
At StartCHURCH, our Accounting Department is equipped to help you have the financial reports you need to lead effectively to have your best summer ever. Call us today at 770-638-3444, and let us know how we can serve you in your bookkeeping needs. Or, if you prefer, schedule a free consultation using the following button: