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Empty Seats in Summer

May 10, 2013

In Texas, it is inevitable churches will have many empty seats in the summer. While vacations do account for many of those, many others are gone for sports tournaments. In our area, softball and baseball are the two big ones. This leaves pastors grumbling about people choosing sports over church and searching for ways to get them back into the Sunday services.

Here is the reality: getting families to skip tournaments to attend church is very unlikely. This is not saying you should give up, but acknowledging the need is for a creative solution. Thinking outside the box is necessary. After all, these families have a chance to minister to others at these tournaments, so why not find a way to support them?

Here is a possible solution: If the players and their families from your church are at the ballparks, there will also be teams from all over the state, or even the nation, at the ballparks too. Work out something with the local tournament and ballpark managers to have pregame services on Sunday morning. It does not need to be anything too long. A couple of popular worship songs and then a short 10-15 minute sermonette from the youth pastor would be fine. Or why not allow more mature youth lead the songs and even deliver the message?

Further opportunities would be setting up shade tents for shelter from the sun. I know on a 100+ degree, shade is necessary. By providing a few simple tents, and possibly some misters, you have the opportunity to serve not only your youth and families, but also others. Sharing the love and caring of Christ through service to others.

Another reason to do this: It shows those who participate in these tournaments that they are valued by you. Many church members who go to these events feel neglected by the church. Some even get negative, or even rude feedback. Why not support them, minister to them, and show them you care?

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