The pastor began the service with an appeal to some of the people in the back of the church to voluntarily “re-seat” themselves. The opening line was pleasant enough: “Would the people in the back of the room please move up into the seats up front…”
Dutifully, a few people complied. The picked up their belongings and begrudgingly moved forward.
A few people looked around noticed where they were sitting and decided, a bit proudly, that the pastor could not have been talking to them. They were in the middle of the room. They didn’t move, and even if the pastor had re-asked in an even more pastoral tone, they appeared stuck, set in their seats. The very few people in the front of the church were happy for the company.
The pastor explained the request, “You know what today is? It’s ‘Time Change Sunday,’ you know, spring forward, fall back…”
It was Spring. Some people made notice of his observation. But then, almost in mid-sentence, he realized he had stumbled upon a wonderful pun that he could add to his appeal as a “hook.”
“So what I am asking the people in the back of the room to do is Spring Forward!”
A few groans went up as a few more people reluctantly complied.
That pastor was me. I did it many times. And, this past week, The Spring Forward effect was paired with the “Spring Break Week” impact, and the pastor in charge made a very similar announcement.
Momentum and Attendance
I understand the intent of these efforts. As pastors, we want to see evidence of the unseen sense of momentum. We take the opportunity to gather people week by week and tell them things from week to week that connect the Gospel to their lives and when they are not there, they cannot see or discover the connection.
Most members are looking for the perfect church to attend, but they do not know how to describe it. But pastors know. This is their definition of a perfect church: It has perfect attendance.
Summer: The Attendance Killer?
But attendance killers are everywhere.
- Scheduled time changes,
- Spring Breaks,
- bad weather,
- good weather,
- soccer tournaments,
- NFL half-time kick-offs
These are all are big disruptors.
But the biggest of all disruptors is summertime.
Summer: A Time for Refreshment and Renewal
But summertime can indeed be a time of refreshment and renewal of a congregation’s vision.
It can be a time of rest from the ordinary week-by-week routines of church life.
Momentum does not have to be interrupted in the months of the summer. Energy and momentum for a greater mission can be the outcome of a well-planned summer of new engagements and trial efforts to build a broader base of volunteers and leaders.
Join me for a Webinar this Wednesday (March 13) at 11 AM CST.
I want to drill down on the idea of momentum and give some very practical steps that every church can take to build their congregation through the summer months.
I am your Guide and Curator of The Evergreen Project of the Anglican Church in North America. I have the privilege of being able to create, collate, and curate resources to help you develop the virtue and value of generosity and stewardship in the congregations of our Province.
To register for the Webinar this Wednesday, click here.
Canon David has over 35 years of local congregational ministry, diocesan and national involvement, leadership, and ministry experience and is the founder of Leaderworks. He was the founding Rector/Pastor, Christ Church, Plano and currently serves as the Strategic Leader and Dean, Diocese of C4SO.