This is hinge week

Mark Driscoll » Church Church Leadership Wisdom Planning

This is a hinge week for most ministry leaders. The summer shuts, and the fall opens. 

A lot of K–12 schools start this week, and colleges start later this month, depending upon which school it is. 

Church attendance through the seasons

For most churches, it is vital that the best team of leaders take the field right now and serve hard, as the fall is a premium growth season. The summer is the season for people to move, go on vacation, enjoy their family, travel, work extra hours to pay for college, etc. But, when the fall comes and school starts, people settle into a routine as the weather also changes.

This week, that transition begins. Practically, this means ministries have a few months to really grow in numbers and depth. If you are going to deploy a new leader, new ministry, new sermon series etc., now is the time. Then, most churches dip around Thanksgiving as there is a lot of holiday travel, school activities, and parties. After that comes Christmas.

Understanding these seasonal patterns will help you plan for your church.

For some ministries, Christmas is a big spike, and for others, not so much. If your ministry spikes at Christmas, it’s probably because you are an established church with a lot of parents and grandparents. This means that old members come back to visit, including the kids and grandkids who have left town for such things as college and employment opportunities. Conversely, if your ministry dips at Christmas it’s usually because you are a younger church filled with college students, singles, and or military personnel who return home to be with their family around the holidays. 

Then, the new year hits. For nearly every ministry, January to Easter is the big growth season. This is where the fall leaders and programs should have settled in and cast enough seeds to have a harvest time. 

Then, things slow down and level off in the spring and summer again.

Understand, prepare, and keep your eyes open

Since Mars Hill Church started some 16 years ago as a small Bible study, this kind of seasonal pattern has been consistent. Your area may be different to some degree, but understanding it will help you know when to get vacations, when to cut programs that are struggling, when to deploy new leaders, when to prepare for new people, etc. And, of course, the Holy Spirit can always do something unprecedented and unexpected as well, so keep your eyes open. 

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