It’s summertime. In Washington D.C. that means two things: First, it’s ridiculously hot. Secondly, everyone goes on vacation.
This is the time of year when people take advantage of the kids being out of school and the weather being warm to get away. Especially in the nation’s capital, when congress isn’t in session, people scatter. It’s amazing how much shorter my commute is to and from work!
During the first couple of summers at my church I made the mistake of introducing too many songs. I began to realize that, especially during July and August, a larger percentage of people are missing on Sundays than usual. So when I was introducing new songs, it took them longer to catch on since they were newer to more people for longer.
In the months of the year when most people are in town, it might take a song two or three Sundays to get familiar. In the summer months, it might take four or five. It depends on the song, of course.
It’s good to keep your repertoire from getting stale and to introduce new songs – but during the summer months you might want to slow the rate down. Introduce a new song and then wait three weeks to introduce another one. In the interim, if you’re desperate for something fresh, pull out an older song you haven’t done in a while and change up the arrangement. Or find a hymn your congregation doesn’t know very well and use it. A critical mass of people will have heard the hymn before and they’ll help you carry it.
You never know how many people are going to be away on a Sunday. Some Sundays are more full than usual, and then other Sundays you wonder where everyone went. You’re probably better off leaning towards more familiar songs in either case and introducing new songs more slowly. Make sure you get a vacation too!