When late spring arrives, churches get busy. Mother’s Day, graduation, pre-camp and pre-VBS sign ups, and upcoming summer mission trips all compete for the attention of members and guests. Summer is just around the corner, and savvy group leaders are ready to maximize the potential that summer months bring.
Group leaders can maximize the summer months and take advantage of the more casual and relaxed feel associated with June, July, and August.
1. Share the teaching responsibilities. Summer is a great time for recruiting people to sub in and teach a session or two. With many people away on vacation, summer is a perfect time for people to spread their wings and teach during a time when it may feel safer (attendance usually bottoms out in July), and for the average person, a smaller group is a less intimidating group to teach.
2. Ramp up your group’s fellowships. Summer movies, barbecues, baseball games, golf outings, a day at the lake, and local day trips can be fun diversions and occasions to gather your members and prospects. Summer has a fun, relaxed feel and is the perfect time to get creative (and busy). Don’t wait for a single occasion when everyone can get together. Instead, schedule multiple events, knowing that they may not all be as well-attended as you’d like, but over the course of the summer they will give people options and will maximize participation. Having multiple opportunities for fellowship will ensure that at least one of the events fits the schedules of your group members.
3. Check in with chronic absentees. Every group has them – people who are absent more than they are present. Summer months can be spent mining these relationships by checking in with a group member you haven’t seen in a while. It’s an easier conversation to have with an absentee when you say, “We’ve been missing you – in fact, we’ve been missing half the group!” Summer is the great equalizer, and most people are going to be in-and-out. This puts the chronic absentee on equal footing with the regular attenders.
4. Recruit an apprentice teacher. Slower summer months are the perfect time to talk with a member of your group and make plans for them to become your apprentice when September rolls around. At that time vacations will be over, and people slide into their post-Labor Day routines. Churches often provide training and encouragement in August around back-to-school time. When a potential apprentice knows he can expect support and training, it’s a lot easier for him to say yes to the opportunity to co-lead the group.
5. Have an extra Bible study. Why not use the summer months to explore a topic your group is interested in? There are plenty of studies that come in 4, 6, 8, or 10 week blocks. Rotate the study by allowing a different member of the group host it each week. Why not suggest that a different group member each week lead the study? Use the new tool at smallgroup.com to create a series of customized lessons.
Take full advantage of summer months and make them work for, not against, your group!