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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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June 16, 2006

Summer Sundays: Livin' too easy?

Here’s a question to go with the lemonade, coffee and donuts after your worship service this Sunday: Is your congregation open for business this summer, ready to welcome visitors?  

It’s prompted by my reading of the daily e-newsletter, On a Journey, which is written by Tom Ehrich who is an Episcopal priest, workshop leader and occasional contributor to The Lutheran.

“A growth-oriented congregation won’t shut down for the summer,” Ehrich wrote. “They can change programs, perhaps, but they need to recognize that church-shoppers expect to see ‘merchandise on display,’ not ‘empty shelves.’”

This advice follows statistics showing just how many Americans move every year—whether across the country or within the county: 40 million. And many, many of those take place during the summer so people can be settled before the school year starts.

This makes the slow-down months of June, July and August prime time for congregations to welcome people moving into the neighborhood. Plan some special programs—teaching series or music performance—and put a banner out front, letting folks know about it. Put extra energy to worship planning and Sunday services. Follow-up with calls or visits after people sign a guest book.

“Greeting ministries need to be in high gear,” Ehrich wrote. (You are serving lemonade, coffee and... after church aren’t you?)

Let’s hear what you’re doing this summer to stock your shelves.

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