Overcoming Summertime Financial Blahs
Summer is almost here. People will be taking much needed vacations; kids will attend youth camps; and sometimes the weather will just be “too nice” for some to attend Church, when the Lake seems much more inviting. All of these create havoc or at least, some unease for the Pastor. Attendance will be unstable which means the finances will be also.
For many Church members, giving tithes and offerings are based on attendance – i.e. out of sight, out of mind. When the members are absent, so is the money. As a rule, two of the lowest income seasons for a Church are summertime and Christmas. During these two times of the year, other things (vacations and presents) demand the members’ dollars. Unfortunately, God will only get His when there is some left over after the presents are bought and/or the vacation money is spent.
For most families, attending church is part of their routine during the school year, but when summer arrives, those routines tend to turn upside down and some things get left out. Church attendance should be a priority, but to think the membership will show up every week, like they did during the school year, is naïve.
Pastors hate the low attendance, but our members deserve grace to have a week or two off to rest and strengthen relationships. I don’t know of any Pastor who does not want to take some time off, and expects the Church to accept their absence. It is no different for the members – they need time off. Most Pastors know that their members need times of rest and recreation, but none of us like to accept the decrease in tithes and offerings due to lower weekly attendance. There are still monthly obligations that must be met. When we have trouble meeting budget is when those summertime financial blahs wreak havoc.
It does become depressing for some Pastors. Many have invested time and hard work growing their church, only to watch it decline during those three months of summertime.
To avoid summertime blahs, the summer months would be an opportune time to plan several family oriented events. Things like Family Fun Day, Church picnics, and a host of others, are great resources. Everyone in your community does not take summer vacations and these events could prove beneficial in attracting new families to your Church.
Have at least one Sunday, per summer month, that is kid-centric. It does not matter what adults have on their agendas, many times those agendas will be altered when children are involved in special Church programs. This is especially true for the children’s Grandparents.
As great as the above may be in attracting people to your Church, they are usually a drag on the Church budget. Visitors rarely give substantially to a Church. Additional solutions are needed.
Pursuing Other Streams
To maintain budget, Churches must learn to think out of the box. Ministry is so costly today, and donations are so unpredictable, that if a Church is to flourish it must pursue other avenues of income.
A Church may want to consider a “for-profit” arm to provide additional income. I know of a Church in South Carolina that turned an area of their facility into a gym and workout center. People in that community purchase memberships just as if they would for Gold’s Gym. The church provides some of the most effective workout equipment available and the gym provides a substantial revenue stream for the Church.
For-profit arms are not the only answer. Faith-based and other grant funds are available from the Federal Government. If a Church would establish a Community Development Center (CDC) or Economic Development Center (EDC), federal money is available that could provide substantial revenue. This revenue snowballs until it eventually is realized in the Church budget.
For years, Chitwood & Chitwwood has been the number one organization assisting Churches in filing for federal grant money. Our success record is second to none. No Church should dread the sunny days of summer because of a lack of income. We can help.
Every Pastor and Church Member should attend a Church Management and Tax Conference or a Wisdom and Wealth Conference to learn how to tap into the funds that are available. Contact us at www.cmtc.org or call 800-344-0076 to attend one in a city nearest you. You will be glad you did.
For Chitwood & Chitwood this is “A Ministry – Not a Job!”