Ecclesiastes chapter three starts like this, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” While this verse isn’t written specifically to address small group leaders in the 21st century, we can definitely apply the general principle. There are unique times and seasons that offer opportunities that are unique to those times and seasons! In our context, the summer months bring the greatest transition in routine, schedule, and focus of the entire year. But as a small group leader, does that mean your ministry in the lives of people takes a three-month vacation? Or does the summer offer some unique opportunities to adjust the way you do ministry? Here are three simple ways to shift your energies without losing relational momentum during the summer:
Spend regular time with your co-leaders or potential co-leaders. Let’s face it, it’s tough to carve out time to train and equip your co-leaders during the busyness of the school year. The summer shift gives you that opportunity. Work hard to schedule regular time with your co-leaders during the summer. Get coffee every Saturday morning, have your co-leader’s family come to dinner every other week, or work through the Two:22 Discipleship material together. Spend intentional time praying, dreaming, and talking about the upcoming small group season. If your group is multiplying, use this time to discuss what the two new groups will look like.
Get together with part of the group every few weeks. Use the summer months to be with some of the couples or individuals in your group that you might not have been able to spend much time with during the school year. For instance, have a barbecue with the two families that were new to your group this season. Or, invite that single mom and her children over for lunch on Sunday afternoon. No pressure, no agenda, just be with people in your group in a different setting. These small investments can make a big difference in the way your group connects when the weekly meetings kick off again.
Meet socially as a whole group every month. Before your last get-together of the spring season, be sure to put some dates on the calendar. If you can plan ahead, you’ll have a much better chance of everyone being available. When you do get together, keep it light-hearted. Play games, eat together, relax, or go on a day trip. Just make some fun memories with your group. By the way, don’t feel like you need to be the one organizing every summer gathering. Ask people in your group to plan the events. Share ownership of these simple group get-togethers and watch how your group rises to the occasion.
When your regular weekly group meetings end for the season, don’t clock out. The summer provides some unique opportunities to continue to lead your group to experience life change together. Make an intentional shift and use the summer months to lay the foundation for the fall and beyond.