Note: This article has been excerpted from the SmallGroups.com training tool called Staying Connected Through the Summer.
I have not always been a fan of small groups taking vacations at specific times during the year. However, the longer I am in ministry with groups, the more I relax and understand the benefit of these short or extended breaks. And the more I understand the benefits, the more I am willing to even encourage groups to take a break—under specific situations.
When Group Members Can't Attend
Your group may need a vacation during seasons of the year when group members have difficulty attending multiple small-group meetings. Such hiatuses are most common during the summer months and the month of December.
Taking a break during the month of December takes much of the pressure off the holiday season—a time filled with many other demands and activities that take place in our churches and communities. During the summer, many families take vacations, need to spend extra time doing yard work, or want more time for recreation activities that can only happen when it's warm. As a result, many groups see attendance become sporadic, at best. Rather than making people feel guilty for not showing up, a vacation may be the best option.
When There's a Shift in Focus
Small groups may also need a vacation to provide a distinct break in the purpose or function of a group. Whether we notice or not, any small group can lose sight of its original focus and purpose. Or, the purpose of a group (as determined by the group leader or larger authority within the church) can change—even when group members don't want it to. So taking a break can assist in giving the old purpose some closure and ...