When summertime hits, people go places. Beaches, amusement parks, lakes, cabins, vacation homes; you name it, people go there. They want to be out and about, shaking off that cabin fever that’s plagued so many for too long. It seems like people go everywhere more, except to your church’s small groups.
People want a break from the norm. That’s why they call it summer “break”. When small groups and church events don’t change with the seasons, it’s easy for people to distance themselves from the things that seem static.
Small groups are important for connection, equipping people with the right tools, and fellowship. Churches shouldn’t just abandon groups altogether. Instead – to counteract the effects of summer – churches can find ways to keep small groups fresh by following suit and breaking from the norm.
Keep you small group ministry fully alive by changing pace to match the vibe of the season.
This will require certain tools to keep people connected and informed, even when they aren’t present. Consider using an online scheduler to keep track of people’s vacations. Also, online communication tools like Facebook, email and a group communication through your ChMS are great ways to stay in touch and communicate important events.
Once your tools are in place, you’ll need fresh ideas and new approaches to reach your small groups.
Here are five tips for how your groups can thrive during what most consider to be an “off” season.
- Be flexible. If you need to change the meeting dates, times, or locations; that’s OK. Move things around to allow the most people the greatest opportunity to attend. Meeting up every other week or rotating meeting locations – like a beach, coffee shop, poolside, or park – will keep things fresh.
- Join hands. If your group is suffering some people loss, it’s likely other groups are, too. Consider joining groups together for special meet-ups, outings, or projects. A shared, potluck style meal or going to a sporting event are just a couple of many ideas you can do with multiple groups.
- Get social. You don’t always have to have a bible study agenda. Sometimes, just letting relationships blossom will yield fruit in the health of your groups. Playing some games or trust building exercises can help stimulate conversations that lead to laughter and more shared experiences.
- Be active. With a good understanding of what group members like to do, planning activities that line up with their desires creates excitement they won’t want to miss. Go to a museum, play basketball, head to the park, or go for a swim. Whatever people will enjoy, do it.
- Do good. Consider getting your groups out into the neighborhood to serve. This allows people to see the impact that they bring to the community. Serving a family in the church, handing out water bottles to hikers or the homeless, or serving at a soup kitchen are all great options.
Whatever you determine fits the needs and desires of your group members, the goal is to keep it casual. Make attending group activities the can’t-miss opportunities of the summer. Keeping people engaged in groups throughout the summer is a sure-fire way to maintain church health and build momentum into the fall.