This post was written by Chris Surratt. Chris is currently the Executive Pastor of Discipleship and Groups at Harvest Church in SoCal. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN., and Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C., prior to becoming the Discipleship and Small Groups Specialist for Lifeway Christian Resources. He is the author of Leading Small Groups and Small Groups for the Rest of Us, and co-hosts the podcast, Group Answers.
As the summer months approach, many small groups tend to take a break or slow down their activities. With vacations, family gatherings, and outdoor activities, it’s easy to see why the rhythm of group meetings may be disrupted. However, I want to challenge you to consider the importance of staying connected as a community during the summer. By staying connected, you will:
- Deepen Relationships
Summer is a season of connection and community. By staying connected as a small group, you have the opportunity to deepen your relationships with one another. Plan social gatherings, barbecues, or outings to enjoy the warm weather together. These relaxed settings provide space for authentic conversations, shared experiences, and the building of lasting friendships. It’s during these informal moments that strong bonds are forged, and trust is developed.
- Support Members During Life’s Transitions
Summer often brings transitions in life, such as graduations, job changes, or moves. By staying connected, your small group becomes a support system during these times of transition. Celebrate milestones together, pray for one another, and provide a network of care and encouragement. Life’s changes can be challenging, but having a small group community to lean on can make all the difference in navigating these transitions.
- Engage in Service Opportunities
Summer presents unique opportunities for small groups to engage in service and outreach. Look for ways to serve your community together, such as organizing a neighborhood clean-up or volunteering at a local charity. Use the summer months to shine the light of Christ through acts of love and service. By staying connected, you can make a greater impact, extending God’s love beyond the walls of your meeting space.
- Embrace Flexibility
While the summer may bring challenges to your regular meeting schedule, it also offers the opportunity for flexibility. Embrace this flexibility by adapting your meeting format to accommodate vacations and other commitments. Consider meeting outdoors, hosting virtual gatherings, or exploring alternative meeting times. By embracing flexibility, you create an environment that allows everyone to stay connected and involved, regardless of their summer plans.
Staying connected as a group during the summer months is a decision that matters. Don’t let the summer months be a pause button on your spiritual journey; instead, view it as an opportunity for growth, connection, and outreach. Let your small group be an example of what it means to live in authentic community throughout the entire year.
An earlier version of this article was published at chrissurratt.com.