When it comes to the calendar, Bible study groups fall somewhere between these two extremes:
- They cancel the group for major holidays—and minor ones too: Christmas, Easter, Spring Break, Arbor Day, even the entire summer.
- They meet no matter what. If Christmas falls on Sunday, the Sunday groups still meet (even though 80 percent of the group won’t be there).
I’m not going to judge you if your group falls in one of those camps. (Well, I won’t judge you out loud.) How often your group takes a break is totally up to you and the church’s leadership, but keep in mind the reason your group meets:
Discipleship takes place in the context of relationships.
That obviously happens best when the group meets face-to-face, but the holidays do not need to disrupt the discipleship process and relationship-building simply because the group is not meeting. We should never take a break from discipleship.
Stay in touch. Use email, text, or an actual phone call. Even if they’ve traveled across the country, you can still reach out. A quick contact simply communicates they’re important to you.
Pray. In one of the times you reach out, ask if there is anything you can pray about for them. Holidays are a stressful time for some families, and your prayers can make a difference.
Encourage discipleship. If your group is reading a Bible book or another book together, encourage them to continue reading. No preaching needed (“YOU’D BETTER KEEPING READING!”) The best encouragement can come from a short text or email sharing an insight you gained in your own reading or personal study.
Get together. If some in your group have no family or travel plans, meet for coffee. This does not need to be a full-blown Bible study. Just gather to visit. Holidays can be a sad time for many people, and if you—or a small group from your small group!—get together, it offers great encouragement.
I love the holidays. I love discipleship. And those two things can work together.
Lynn Pryor is a team leader for adult resources at Lifeway. He and his wife, Mary, lead a Bible study group for young adults and have survived raising two sons to adulthood. A graduate of Southwestern Seminary, Lynn has previously pastored and served churches in Texas. Follow him on his blog at lynnhpryor.com.