It’s tempting to waive the white flag, to throw your hands up in surrender, to the summer slump. Many churches simply resign their efforts and re-appropriate them in the fall. First on the chopping block of suspended ministries are groups. It’s almost expected that groups will take a break during the summer months. But, doing so can have costly consequences if you aren’t prepared.
Much of the work that was put into groups, building relationships, and developing community is lost during the break. People come back to new groups, having to reestablish connections and familiarity. Instead of making great memories together over the summer, people have to remember back to and connect over experiences that happened weeks or months in the past.
Just because there might not be as many people around, doesn’t mean your church can’t sustain a profound groups ministry over the summer.
In fact, a more intimate setting, with fewer people, might be exactly what your church needs.
When groups are smaller it provides opportunity to:
- Connect on a more personal basis
- Meet in new and unique locations
- Take the group to an outside setting
- Share a meal with potluck or dinner out
- Get kids involved
Smaller groups provide people with an opportunity to make deeper connections and foster stronger relationships. They are more flexible and there is less pressure to perform.
What’s more, this more fun and intimate season lends itself to some new opportunities. It allows group members and leaders to remove some of the expectations for each other. Kids can get involved, which can help increase attendance as well. And groups can take on a new life of their own, not as bound by strict curriculum or guidelines.
To plan for a successful summer groups ministry, consider:
- Recruiting volunteers to help with childcare – to increase attendance
- Discovering new venues – like a park, beach, or poolside – to have groups meet
- Empowering group leaders to easily communicate using your Church Management Software, text, or email
- Tracking group involvement through your ChMS to see what’s working best
- Listening to the group members to learn what they like in a summer group
- Encouraging people to bring friends to unique group outings and meet-ups
- Developing a less stringent calendar to match the times of the season
The most important part of developing summer groups is a change of mindset. Summer groups should be seen as an opportunity to do something fun and unique; to connect on a more personal level, and to develop people in their walk with God. Take advantage of all that summer groups have to offer through a little planning, a lot of excitement, and utilizing the right tools for the job.