Myth: Our Small Groups Should Take a Summer Break

Stay consistent: continue to meet when you regularly meet.

If one family, couple, or member cannot make it because of vacation plans or other things, don’t take it personally and get together with whoever is available. If it turns out that only a few can meet, still meet. This gives you an opportunity to fellowship in a more intimate group, and it’s amazing how you may grow closer just meeting with the few who can attend.

Uplift someone or a group in your area.

“Missions Trips” don’t have to be far away. You don’t just have to think globally, you can look locally! Look for ways that your small group can uplift someone in your community. What about a Senior Home to visit? Maybe there is a widow on your block that needs comfort? Do you know an elderly person that may just need a few things done to his/her yard? Your group can also volunteer at a local orphanage, school, church summer camp, or prison.

Modify group meetings.

Have a Barbeque, Date Night, or Girls Night/Boys’ Night out. Maybe someone has a pool, trampoline, or basketball hoop in their backyard for some fun and games. Have small group at the beach, the park, or by the lake! Remember that you can meet to focus on fellowship and maybe have some worship before the event gets started. Our small group has had swim parties, and barbeques with our children, as well as couples only nights for the adults to get to know one another better.

Make a plan for spiritual growth.

What do you need to do to plan for personal maturity during the summer? Meeting as a small group is great, and if you are already having daily quiet time with the Lord, I recommend to keep doing it! To mature in Christ takes a plan…a plan to spend daily time with the lord in prayer, study, and meditation. We’ve got so much information coming in, what’s to protect our hearts and our minds? We need to have the armor of God protecting us daily from the bombardment of the world.

Explore Rotating leadership and homes.

Commit to have a meeting even if it’s just two or three people. Hosts/leaders, if you’re going to be out of town, ask someone to have the group meeting at their house. This is a great way to start sharing leadership, if you aren’t already.

Reassess:

Summertime is a great time to discuss some of the guidelines of your small group. Is the time/day still working for everyone? Are things changing in the fall that need to be discussed? Do you want to add more members to your group?

What kind of study do you want to do? Don’t be afraid to bring some of these issues up in your group. You are part of a larger family, so don’t just “not show up” if there is something on your mind.

Try a different type of study:

  1. Use sermon discussion notes for really lively conversations.
  2. Read through particular chapters in the Bible as a group. Pick a book of the Bible (like an epistle), and have everyone read a chapter a week, and come ready with at least one question for the group to answer. Bring a commentary, a Serendipity Bible, or other study materials to help.
  3. Share each week from a daily devotional or drive time devotions.
  4. Call another small group and see what they have been studying. They may have a great suggestion for your next study.

Involve everyone in an overnight retreat together.

Find a campground, plan an overnight or two-day outing, meet up around a campfire at night, and eat, sing, and have a devotional. Oh yeah! One overnight retreat is worth 26 weeks of small group meetings.

Minister together, do a serve project!

What a great time to help out at church, fix up a group member’s home, do some yard work for someone who is not doing well, or serve one Sunday morning in a way to help your church. See your church for a list of ways to serve as a group.

Experience a night of worship.

Ask each person to bring two of their favorite worship songs. Play them all and share why the songs they brought have meaning to them. If your church polity allows, have communion at the end.

Check out this verse. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more, as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

So, keep going and have a fun S-U-M-M-E-R-T-I-M-E. Together.

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Steve Gladen
Steve Gladen has been on staff at Saddleback Church since 1998; he currently oversees the strategic launch and development of small groups at Saddleback as well as the staff of the Small Group Network. He has focused on small groups in several churches for almost 20 years. Steve oversees 2,500 adult small groups at Saddleback and loves seeing a big church become small through true community developed in group life. He has co-authored several books, including 250 Big Ideas for Small Groups, Building Healthy Small Groups in Your Church, Small Groups With Purpose, Leading Small Groups With Purpose, and Don't Lead Alone. Steve does consulting and seminars championing small groups and what it means to be Purpose Driven in a small-group ministry.