Churches often see a down tick in attendance over the summer. How can you keep people invested when they aren't in the building on Sunday?

Summer break is here again, and in my opinion, this is the most wonderful time of the year … at least in the midwest! For church leaders, summer has some unique challenges and opportunities. People tend to be less engaged in person on Sundays because of family vacations or choosing to spend the weekend camping, at the lake, etc.

This can be a unique opportunity for communications leaders to do some creative problem solving by providing meaningful and fun ways to help people stay connected. Sunday attendance may decline a little during summer months, but people will still be online, so how can you develop creative, meaningful and engaging content to help you and your people stay connected?

We’re glad you asked!

The Fishhook team spent some time brainstorming summer social media ideas churches could try that would help people stay engaged and have some fun while they’re at it, and we want to share them with you! 

Think of all of these ideas as a “series” that you run through the summer months, and consider tapping a few of your leaders on the shoulder to ask them to engage when they travel to help get momentum building.


As your people are traveling this summer, consider finding creative ways to interact with and celebrate the great memories they are making.

  • Livestream Locations – Have people share a post of them watching services online from wherever they’re traveling and tag you in it. Reshare their posts to your stories.
    • For every person that shares, find a coffee shop where they’re vacationing and buy them an eGift card to that place.
    • Make it a contest for the most creative place or the furthest away. Give them some sort of swag, gift card or free drink at your coffee bar (if you have one).
    • Is there a way to create a unique experience for your online audiences? Think about incorporating something that is exclusive to online viewers that would encourage people to tune in while traveling.
    • Create a couple reels at the end of the summer highlighting everything that was shared!

    • If you want to go the extra mile:
  • Swag Adventures – Have people post pictures of your church swag wherever they’re vacationing and have them tag you in it. Reshare their posts to your stories.
    • Make it a competition for the most creative post and reshare all the posts to your stories with polling tags to get people’s votes. Have some sort of fun giveaway!
    • Talk about this a couple weeks before starting and give away new merch for people to take with them. Think about investing in merch that people will actually use and show off like stickers, koozies or water bottles. If you’ve got the budget for it, you can never go wrong with a great shirt or hat!
    • Create a couple reels at the end of the summer highlighting everything that was shared!
    • If you want to go the extra mile:
Food and Community

Everybody loves food and community! This category gives people permission to brag about their best dishes and smoked meats all summer long and to facilitate spaces to engage with your neighbors and community through intentional ways of connecting.

  • What Are We Eating? – Have people share a dish they’re excited about.  Encourage them to do a story or reel so they can talk about what it is (in 30 seconds or less). Most importantly, invite neighbors over to share this meal together. Post pictures, tag your church and reshare to your stories!
    • Work with neighbors to plan a block party or a progressive dinner down your street!
  • BBQ Battle – Host a BBQ Battle at your church one Sunday later in the summer and invite the community to participate. To register for the event, participants have to post a picture or reel of their BBQ skills in action and tag your church.
    • Make this a ticketed back to school event. The contestants provide their own meat and materials, and the winner will get a prize. But the ticket proceeds will go toward a focused cause: backpacks for under-resourced families in the community or school supplies for teachers.
    • Invite a local brewery or beer truck to come where people can buy an adult beverage to go with their BBQ! This would make the invite to church much easier for folks who may not be inclined to go to church!
    • Use social media for vote casting! This will drive a ton of traffic to your social media platforms and will create a lot of fun interactions!
    • Create a recap video and celebrate the winner!
  • Sunday Sundaes – Partner with a local ice cream shop or truck and promote that they will be at your church every Sunday for 1-2 hours after church on Sundays. Find a partner that would donate a small percentage of proceeds for an initiative at the end of the summer – again, backpacks, teacher supplies or something similar.
    • Consider running ads to go with this in an effort to connect with people who are not at your church. Mobilize your hospitality teams and other key leaders to sign up for weekends to stick around and connect with people.
    • Bring out slip-n-slides, bounce houses, corn hole, portable putting greens, etc. and encourage people to hang out and spend time together!
    • Post recap pictures/reels every week!
  • Sidewalk Chalk – Start an online sidewalk chalk art gallery by encouraging your people to draw the church logo and name, write an encouraging message for passers-by and post and tag your church!
    • Make it a competition for people to win a prize.
    • Have people invite their neighbors to participate. Every neighbor (non-church attender) who participates gets a gift card to a local coffee shop or restaurant.
    • Save all the photos and create a banner/mural out of them at the end of the summer.
Resource Your Community to Grow Spiritually

As your people may be less connected in person, it could be really meaningful to deposit spiritual content into their lives. These ideas revolve around putting Jesus front and center during these summer months.

  • Book Reading Challenge – At the beginning of the summer, have your pastoral team curate a list of 3-5 books to read this summer. Create a Facebook Group to facilitate discussions and post a few questions weekly for people to reflect and respond to.

  • Scripture Reading Challenge – Similar to the Book Reading Challenge, this would be a reading plan that could also be used to foster conversation online with a Facebook Group. Consider using the reading challenge to set you up for a fall sermon series.

  • Discussion Prompts – Create weekly discussion questions that a family could use to talk about the sermon. Have the kids ministry team put together a coloring book to go along with it that the younger kids can engage with.

  • Share Scripture - Regulary posting scripture on social media is always a great way to keep the Gospel in front of people! It could also be meaningful to have your pastors and other leaders in your church read portions of scripture and share those as reels.

These are just a few ideas that you could try this summer that would provide unique opportunities for social media engagement and interaction.

Consider trying just one of these ideas!

Before deciding on something like this, always keep in mind what your values, priorities and long-term goals are. How can something like this build momentum toward priorities you’ve already set?

So, do you like any of these ideas? Are you planning to try something else with social media this summer? We’d love to hear about it! As always, if you want to talk social media and online engagement, we’d love to connect!