Summer time is often a slow time in churches. Many small groups don’t meet through the summer because people are gone on vacation, or just busy with all those other things you can do while the kids are out of school. Sunday School classes are smaller for the same reason.
This is a good time to think about new small groups or about how to revitalize your existing small group. Unless you keep thinking creatively, over time your group can slow down, shrink, lose its focus, and may even disappear. If your group is weak, the summer vacation is a time when you lose members–people who simply aren’t going to come back.
Ideally, your group should be continually growing, and thus spawning new groups. That’s the most healthy state, and keeps groups alive. But the reality is that many groups meet over long periods of time with the same people who are comfortable with one another and who meet out of habit. Such a long term group can be very strong, but often it isn’t.
Here are a few suggestions for a summer review:
- Evaluate your group
- Do you know what the purpose of your group is? (Fellowship, Bible study, prayer, social action, mutual support)
- Can you say whether you’re accomplishing this mission?
- If not, why not?
- If yes (unequivocally!), then you’re likely on track
- List possible changes and discuss them with the group members (a few phone calls don’t hurt)
- Too few members, for example because people have left
- Too many members to accomplish your mission, for example a Bible study group designed for a comfortable discussion amongst 6-10 people may be clumsy with 20+ members
- Wrong activities for the intended focus of the group
- Too frequent meetings
- Too infrequent meetings
- Lack of focus in the meetings, for example a Bible study group that is spending 45 minutes on prayer and 15 on Bible study.
- Now honestly look at solutions
- Recruit new members or split your group
- Make a plan to fulfill your focus
- In discussions with all group members, change when and how frequently you meet
- If you have been on one subject too long, think of another
- If you decide the group has served its usefulness, break up, but make sure to form new groups or get the group members connected with other groups
We’d be delighted if some of our materials help you with your new or revitalized group. Watch for the small group logo (see below) on our catalog pages for materials especially designed for small groups.