5 Ways for Groups to Maximize the Dog Days of Summer

When late spring arrives, churches get busy. Mother’s Day, graduation, pre-camp and pre-VBS sign ups, and summer mission trips all compete for the attention of members and guests. We’re in mid-May and summer is just around the corner. Savvy groups and their leaders are ready to maximize the potential that the dog days of summer bring.

1. Share the teaching responsibilities. Summer is a great time for recruiting people to teach. With many group members away on vacation during the summer, attendance drops. That becomes a perfect time for people to spread their wings and teach during a time when it feels safer (attendance usually declines through July), and for the average person, a smaller group is less intimidating to teach than a larger one.

2. Plan some fun fellowships. Summer movies, barbecues, baseball games, golf outings, a day at the lake, and day trips to places in your area can be fun diversions and occasions to gather members and potential members. Summer has a fun, relaxed feel and is the perfect time to get creative. Don’t wait for a single occasion when everyone can get together. Instead, schedule multiple events, knowing that events may 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. Contact chronic absentees. Every group has them – people who are absent more than they are present. Summer months can be spent contacting people you haven’t seen in a while. “One of the things that sets apart a healthy Sunday School or small group ministry from a struggling one is a commitment to care for every person” (Shepherd: Creating a Caring Community, p.7). Summer is a good time to make porch visits because of the extra daylight we have. It’s also a good time to call and check on people that gone AWOL.

4. Recruit an apprentice teacher. Summer months are the perfect time to recruit a member of your group to become your apprentice. By late August and early September, family 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. Clean up that classroom. Why not use the summer months to do some belated Spring cleaning?! Most classrooms tend to accumulate items that aren’t needed, and truth be told, too many classrooms have become more cluttered than they should be. Take down charts, maps, and other posters that have been on the walls for a while, and clean up table tops that collect all sorts of items over the year. If you do this, you’ll be ready for a good start in Fall.

Take full advantage of summer months and make them work for, not against, your group!

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