the shape of leadership

Five Ways to Avoid the New Year’s Lull

Keep your church’s momentum going after the holidays

Influence Magazine on December 6, 2018

More often than not, January is a down time for church. Attendance can decrease from the high of one of the year’s largest crowds at Christmas. Offerings may also drop off after the December surge, when some members give extra to take advantage of year-end tax deductions. And the atmosphere in your church can feel a little off, with people taking a timeout after a busy holiday season.

But that doesn’t mean ministry should take a timeout. In fact, January is a great time to springboard into another promising church year. As you move through December and plan for January, here are five ways to keep the momentum going and avoid the New Year’s lull:

1. Maintain Excitement

Your audience will match the passion, enthusiasm and energy they see you and your staff exemplifying. So, get out of the gate on the right foot. Don’t reflect the laid-back attitude many have at the first of the year. Instead, display your own excitement and involvement in what the Holy Spirit is doing.

Harness the optimism of a new year by focusing on spiritual discipline.

2. Practice Discipline

At the beginning of every year, people make resolutions to become more disciplined. Harness that optimism by focusing on spiritual discipline. Call a fast in the first week of the new year. Open the church building each morning for early prayer and worship. And ask for commitments from your members to get on board.

3. Plan a Post-Christmas Event

On the heels of one of the busiest months of your calendar year, why would you plan another event in January? Don’t your people need a break? Of course they do. But they also need a reason to celebrate. Your January event doesn’t have to be big and elaborate — just something to set a positive tone at the start of the year. For example, you could invite all those who received Christ in December to go public with their faith in a special baptism service.

4. Get Creative

Put on your creative hat, and come up with a great sermon series to kick off the new year. Pick a felt need you know your community will be interested in. Then, find a way to present eternal truths for that timely need. And start advertising it now! Make sure every guest this Christmas season knows what you’ll be talking about in January and when that series begins.

5. Engage!

Finally, just stay in touch with your people. Send out email blasts about what’s coming up in January. Make sure to keep posting on social media between Christmas and the new year. Use Instagram stories and videos to highlight what’s happening. And encourage your small groups to keep in touch since they are the best way for your people to stay connected.

When you emphasize what’s important, your church will follow. It starts with you! Being an influencer means setting the pace. So start thinking now about how to get moving in the new year, and ask God to do something special for those who show up.

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