Summer can be a momentum killer for small group ministries. Between vacations, travel tournaments for kids, and other extracurricular activities, many small groups can lose any sense of momentum or community gained over the past nine months during the summer. A few weeks ago, I ran across a post from Saddleback Church with some ideas for their small groups to use during the summer.
Today, I thought I’d take the time to share some of my favorites from that post, along with a few ways Church Community Builder churches can utilize their church management software to ensure their members are staying connected through small groups this summer. Before your church gives up on maintaining a thriving small group ministry during the summer, here are four ideas you could pass along to your leaders to keep the momentum going:
- Mix up your studies. Because summer is so ‘hit-and-miss’ for some group members, finding a study where people don’t feel left out if they miss a week is a good idea. If your church does a video study, consider using small groups as a time to recap the sermon from the past weekend. If you do a traditional study, consider picking a book of the Bible and having each person come prepared with at least one question to answer.
Church Community Builder User Tip: Encourage your group leaders to use File Sharing to share the videos or commentaries to ensure that people who aren’t there still feel included. File Sharing can also create a hub for their materials each week.
- Plan an overnight retreat. Summertime is a great chance for your small groups to bond over a weekend retreat. Whether it’s a trip to the mountains or a nearby city, getting your groups to spend time together on a ‘mini-vacation’ can make their bond stronger.
Church Community Builder User Tip: Finding an open weekend in everyone’s calendar may be difficult. Weekends are busy and some people never reply with availability. Using the RSVP feature when you create an event can help the leader a lot. I also find the Discussion Threads useful for this purpose.
- Host a spontaneous movie night. Whether it’s a chick flick or summer blockbuster, encouraging your members to create spontaneous opportunities to hang out is a great way to keep your small groups thriving during the summer.
Church Community Builder User Tip: By utilizing our Twexting™ service, your small group leaders have the freedom to get in touch with every member in a short period of time by sending a text message out to their members. On top of that, they can create a Twitter account for their group and simultaneously post a tweet along with the text message.
- Do a service project together. Serving together can bring your small group together faster than anything else. Because summer is a little more casual for most people, encouraging your groups to do a service project will help them grow together. Whether it’s doing one small project a month or one larger service project, this is a great way to tie your small groups to your church’s externally-focused ministry.
Church Community Builder User Tip: With our Needs Management tool, your small groups can coordinate who will lead various aspects of the service project. As people respond, the coordinator is automatically notified. You can also assign specific items to certain people, which will tell them everything they need to know to help out.
What are some other ways your small groups stay active during the summer months?