I love stats, I am not a huge sports fan but my ears perk up when I hear a conversation about who has the most homeruns, or the longest winning streak, a hole -in-one, and so on. I am not a basketball fan, but I loved watching Michael Jordan. I am not an avid football watching person but I love watching Devin Hester catch a punt and run it back. Golf bores me to death but there’s was something about Tiger Woods dominating in his prime. I am interested in watching what is trending and keeping up with stats.
Boxofficemojo is one of those websites I visit for the pure pleasure of movie stats. Their breakdowns are fascinating to me. Again, I am not a numbers guy. I just like seeing what is trending and what hits BIG. As I was looking over the “All Time Weekend Box Office Records” I noticed a dramatic drop in the months of September and October. There is no contest, all time the month before is double and the month after is triple the income. Hollywood calls these low attendance dips “Dump Months.” It got me thinking about “Dump Months” in youth ministry…
What month to month trends am I missing or ignoring in my cycle of youth ministry?
What events are not working?
Are they not working because they are bad ideas or do they fall in a bad cycle?
Here are a few example from our ministry.
- We planned a fall retreat this year, but needed to switch the dates last minute because schools swooped in and added/switched homecoming to the same weekend we had reserved. If we kept that weekend, we would have had 3 students show up for camp.
- Our Super Bowl party 2 years ago was jam packed. Last year we took a huge hit in attendance. So this year we decided to let small groups host parties in stead of having one large gathering. The Super Bowl was the same time, what changed? A school event (I forget, a play, or show choir, or something that made church just one more thing that week, and they said, “we can watch from home”).
- In my context, no event seems to work in May. Concert, game night, laser tag, trampoline park, etc all fail in May. May is our main “Dump Month.”
- Our midweek attendance would spike in September and October and fall March1st. Weird right? Not really, that is when baseball and spring plays would kick off. Our kids still love Jesus but they would be busy midweek.
If you are a strategic thinker you probably have your cycles figured out. But if you have been struggling with events and seasons maybe you should pause and look at your trends. Compare your average event attendance to your midweek or weekend attendance trends. What can you learn from what you see? One thing I learned is that in May we should not do an event. Instead we ramp up the quality of what we do at our midweek program. Sure, we always want to have an excellent midweek program but if I am not placing extra energy and budget in an event that month I will spend that midweek.
“For me, this was a lesson of working smarter, not harder.” – Scrooge McDuck