What Should Small Groups Do Over the Summer?

What Should Small Groups Do Over the Summer?

3 things all groups should consider

For many, summer is all about taking a break—from everything. Kids are off school, teachers aren't working, people are taking vacations, and the church schedule is usually lighter. But summer can be a unique time of growth for small groups, so don't be too quick to call it quits for three months.

That said, a break may be the best option for your group. Take some time to consider the options and what's best for your group. Jay Firebaugh has some great reasons for continuing to meet, and Mark Ingmire shares why your group might need a vacation. There are pros and cons to each, just go into the decision with intentionality. You can find more articles to help you decide in our training tool Stay Connected Through the Summer.

You might also consider a different schedule for the summer. You could meet every other week, or you could meet once a month for a social activity. Some groups meet once a month for a study and sharing and meet another time each month for an outreach activity. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

Whatever you decide, consider these three things for summer:

1. Stay Connected—Even If You Take a Break

You've spent months building up your relationships and getting to know each other. Don't let all that work go to waste! The good news is that even if you do take a break, or if your schedule changes somewhat, you can still stay connected. In fact, a smooth transition into fall requires that you stay connected at some level.

Check out these great training tools for tips:

Stay Connected Through the Summer
Make the most of summer—whether or not you take a break.

Develop Real Relationships
Intentionally build the relationships in your group.

2. Try Something Different

Summer is a natural time to try something new with your group. Whether you try out a new, less frequent schedule, drop your study during the summer, or take time to tell your stories, you can introduce your group members to new experiences that can help them grow as individuals and as a group.

Now's the time to spend time telling your personal stories, trying out spiritual disciplines, or planning a fun retreat for your group. You can also plan fun barbeques, sporting events, and more outside. It's also a great time to involve the kids in your meetings or activities. Try doing a craft together, make a chalk mural on the sidewalk, or spend time at a local park. Plus, the warmer weather opens up lots of opportunities to engage your community. See what service projects you might be able to participate in, or walk around and get to know your neighbors. Attend community events as a group with the intention of getting to know the people in your city.

Here are some great training tools to help:

Spiritual Disciplines for Small Groups
Take your group deeper by practicing together.

Plan a One-Day Retreat for Your Small Group
You and your group members could use a break.

Planning a Group Service Project
This resource is full of practical tools for both group leaders and church staff.

3. Assess Your Group

Summer provides the perfect time to take a hard look at your group and assess. Where are you at? Where do you want to be? What changes can you make for the fall?

Consider what God has done in and through your group this year and celebrate! But also take a look at what might be holding you back from experiencing more growth. Assess your leadership and have group members assess their group experience. Is your group accomplishing its mission, or have you strayed from it?

If you find any areas that need improvement, spend time brushing up on training. As you head into fall, you'll be situated for success.

Here are some great training tools to help:

Do You Lead a Life-Changing Small Group?
Assess and reflect on your transformation as a group.

Evaluations for Small-Group Leaders
Take a minute to give yourself and your group a quick checkup.

Enjoy these warmer months as a group, and think outside the box to connect in unique and meaningful ways.

—Amy Jackson is managing editor of SmallGroups.com.

More on Summer Strategies for Groups

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Stay Connected Through the Summer

Stay Connected Through the Summer

Make the most of summer—whether or not you take a break.