Church attendance is nearly impossible to predict. Some Sunday services are bare, and others, there's not a seat in the house. But, you can count on a few church attendance trends throughout the year.
The top 4 most attended Sundays are:
#3: Mother’s Day
#4: A planned event (like Homecoming)
On these days, your staff and volunteers know the uptick in attendance is coming. When prepared, generosity increases and growth happens naturally because new visitors and regular attendees feel welcome. Of course, being prepared for crowd sizes to swell is easier said than done.
Let’s dig into 10 tips to better prepare for high attendance days at church.
#1: Create a plan (and work it!)
Even if you have a plan for peak attendance days, the key is to work it! A well-thought-out plan elevates your church because it minimizes uncertainties. You can quickly identify areas that need more support and be ready for the unexpected. A few items to include in your plan for high attendance days are:
- Update your website
- Check the weather
- Plan for overflow
- Clean and decorate
- Promote digital giving
After the big day, take notes to refine your plan even more for the next year. Write down any obstacles you overcame and what worked better than expected. Use this as a blueprint moving forward for all popular services.
#2: Remind people how to give
When attendance increases, giving increases. But only if you remind people how to give before, during, and after service. Send an email a week before service to remind people of the steps to give via text, mobile, on your website, and more.
Then, include these steps during the offering using slides or by walking your church through the process from the stage. Continue to share the ways to give on the next few Sunday’s that follow.
Want to see a real example of how to announce digital giving during the offering? Check out our free course: How to Launch Giving at Your Church. This course shows you exactly how to re-engage people with your giving tools.
#3: Create a checklist to welcome new visitors
It may feel natural to greet new visitors, but when it comes to high attendance days at church, expect to be spread a little thin. Here’s a quick list to help you streamline welcoming new guests:
- Begin by greeting visitors in the parking lot. If you don’t have enough volunteers, use signs to help direct those that aren’t familiar with your church
- Clearly identify staff and volunteers with name tags or t-shirts
- Station greeters at every entrance
- Set up a Visitor Center in a location people walk by (but that doesn’t cause foot traffic to bottleneck)
- Have a way to collect contact information
- Create a welcome packet with information about the church’s vision, ways to give, a map for people to find their way around, a calendar of upcoming events, and other helpful tips
#4: Recruit more volunteers
During peak attendance days, you’ll simply need more hands-on-deck. There are a bunch of tips out there to recruit more volunteers, but 2 best practices are:
1. Reduce the commitment level. The number 1 reason people don’t volunteer is lack of time. Over 90% of people want to volunteer, but they fear if they do it once, they’ll be obligated to do it again.
2. Ask people if they want to volunteer. It may seem like a no-brainer, but roughly 25% of people simply haven’t volunteered because they weren’t asked (or they didn’t know how to sign up).
#5: Train volunteers
Recruiting volunteers isn’t enough. They need to be trained (and retrained) to ensure they’re confident in their jobs. Show them how to walk people through the steps to give using their smartphones and prepare them for common questions new guests ask. Beforehand, have a brief session to go over specific responsibilities based on where they’re stationed.
#6: Invite even more people to join your celebration
Whatever reason for high attendance days at church, try to increase that number even more! Invite the entire community to join by sending emails and sharing the celebration on social media. Also, ask your congregation to invite a guest. About 90% of the unchurched said they would attend a service if asked by a friend or family member.
#7: Get active online
One of the best ways to spread the word about your celebration is to get active online. Social media, your church’s website, and other online outlets are ideal to create a buzz early. Dedicate a blog post to the service and ask active members to share your church’s post on their social media pages.
#8: Take pictures and document the event
High attendance days at church are perfect for taking pictures and writing down stories. Share these in your newsletters, on social, and in welcome packets. Plus, looking back at these are always a good reminder that even though popular church services are a lot of work, they’re totally worth it!
#9: Pay attention to the little things
Little touches go a long way. Fresh flowers, a fully stocked and cleaned bathroom, free coffee and water, and other extras take your celebration to the next level. People remember the little things, and it can make a difference in whether they return for a future service or outreach event.
#10: Have thank you cards ready
Thanking people for attending church is crucial. When you send a heartfelt thank you to new guests that gave to the church, 42% are more likely to give again. Try to send thank you cards within 48 hours of the service and include an invitation to come back and visit.
By incorporating one (or all!) of these tips in your plan for high attendance days at church, you’ll not only be ready for the increase in crowd size, you’ll look forward to it!