The end of summer slow-downs

This is a busy time of year for many of us who serve congregations as paid staffers or lay leaders. The summer slow down is over, and it’s time to ramp up to the regular schedule. It can be a stressful time of year in congregational life.

And for the first time, I’m feeling impatient with the stress. Why do we even bother to slow down in the summer? I know I have pretty much the same religious needs all year round, and the summer slow-down doesn’t make sense to me.

Not that I don’t value seasonal changes in congregational life. I used to love summers in the Unitarian Universalist congregation I grew up in because the senior minister would get other ministers to preach there while he was on vacation; we’d have several weeks of a rotating cast of characters preaching their best sermons from the past year. (Mind you, I have also been a part of a congregation where the summer services were led by ill-prepared and unskilled speakers; one member of that congregation called summer services “amateur hour”; but that’s a whole different blog post.)

But this idea of partially closing the congregation down in the summer no longer makes sense to me. Sometimes it seems like the only thing the summer slow-down accomplishes is increasing my stress and my workload in the month of August. I just want to put an end to summer slowdowns.