Guest post by Reagan Lynn
Summer is almost here!
For churches, this means summer camps, VBS, mission trips and lower attendance and giving, generally. Summer certainly offers opportunities and challenges.
Leveraging a church management software (ChMS) is a necessity to effectively navigate the summer months. Here are specific, best practices to help your church thrive during the summer months.
Begin promoting events ahead of time. These events could be summer camps, Vacation Bible Schools and missions trips. Identify your members, attendees and visitors who would be most interested in participating. Then, contact them through different methods. Through your ChMS, send mass emails and SMS text messages to different groups.
You can even prepare messages ahead of time and schedule them to send at later dates / times. This is especially important during the months leading up to an event to keep these important activities at the top of people’s minds.
Employ a streamlined event registration system. Add an event’s registrants to a group in your ChMS and send out periodic messages reminding them about preparing for the activity to come. Great examples of this are summer camp packing lists, mission trip meeting dates and VBS scheduling announcements.
A ministry needs to reserve a room and equipment for an event. Do you know if the room is being used already during the requested time? Will enough tables and chairs be available? Does the event need to be added to your church’s website calendar once it is scheduled?
Scheduling events and coordinating resources at your church during a busy time of year can be an enormous task – but it doesn’t have to be. Utilize one calendar tool to schedule events, easily manage resources and equipment and automatically post public events to your church’s website calendar.
Your members and visitors can even to subscribe to this public calendar feed and have these events synced to their personal Gmail, Outlook and iCal calendars.
“After the Event”
Vacation Bible School and similar activities are some of the largest attractors of visitors during the year. With so many visitors, it can be hard to connect with the parents of every child afterwards, much less reach out to every parent. However, there is great opportunity to establish genuine connections and to help play a part in making an eternal impact.
Employ a mass messaging feature with the flexibility to send mass emails, SMS text messages and voicemails to groups of people in your ChMS.
Also leverage an Interactions feature to record your connections with visitors and manage your follow ups with them. On a similar note, let’s talk about connecting with absentees.
Connecting with Absent Members
Maintaining meaningful contact with regular attenders is imperative. The summer months often mean lower attendance. This is largely due to trips and family vacations, but sometimes members and attenders may slip through the cracks for other reasons.
Exercise diligence. Take attendance at your different ministry gatherings, including small groups, Bible studies and larger gatherings, too. This way, you can easily run absentee reports in your ChMS to determine who has been absent recently. Then, follow up with each person personally. Sure, they may be on vacation – that’s probably why they’ve been away – but never assume. A member could be struggling with a personal or family issue and may need care.
Use our ChMS to track follow ups with absentees and coordinate with staff and volunteers in this effort. The Interactions feature is a powerful and easy-to-use tool to help assign and track these crucial contacts with members and visitors.
Because attendance is generally lower during the summer months, giving levels often slump. One effective strategy to reduce this trend is to promote Online Giving: Specifically recurring / repeating donations. Your donors can give even when they’re out of town without having to worry about forgetting to mail a check to the church office before they leave town.
Summer provides a yearly opportunity to greet many new faces and form lasting connections. Be sure to make the most of what summer has to offer!
Reagan Lynn has a passion for helping churches increase ministry effectiveness, specifically through improving visitor follow up and enhancing member engagement. This drives his career, as he partners with churches to implement systems to accomplish exactly those goals. He resides in Tallahassee, FL and enjoys meaningful conversations, competitive tennis and people-watching at Whole Foods.