No matter your stage of life or the life stage you lead, everything changes in the summer. Days are longer, the temperature is hotter, school is out, and vacations are on. So maybe your small group format should change, too? Many churches choose to suspend groups altogether during the summer, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are a few ideas for bringing some variety to your small group ministry during these slower months.
1. Build groups around hot topics.
Summertime is a great time to offer group studies that focus on hot topics or current events. This summer, one cannot escape the growing political tensions leading into the presidential election, so you may want to consider having your groups go through a Bible study about navigating this climate as a Christian. A couple of options include Russell Moore’s Onward and David Platt’s Counter Culture. Both studies help us better understand how our identity as followers of Christ should impact our relationship with the social issues we face today.
2. Offer gender-based (or mixed-gender) groups.
If your groups are typically co-ed, summer is a great time to offer gender-based groups that study passages of Scripture or discipleship books related to a specific gender. On the other hand, if this is the norm for you year round, then maybe you should consider mixed-gender groups during the summertime. Either option gives your group members the chance to meet new people and experience a new dynamic of small group life.
3. Make your groups missional.
With more flexibility in people’s summer schedules, another option for your group ministry is to structure your groups around on-going service projects. Partner with local ministries to find ways to get your people serving others together. Opportunities include everything from hosting VBS camps in area neighborhoods to volunteering with a homeless shelter or a local food bank. And the more you can involve the families in your church, the better. If your groups needs some inspiration to serve, consider pairing service projects with a study of the new Bible study The Insanity of Obedience, which releases July 1, or The Mission, both of which help us learn how to live on mission for God.
Whatever you choose to do with your groups this summer, our prayer for you is that it will be a time of rich discipleship and engaging fellowship as you rest and gear up for the fall.
Laura Magness is a content specialist for Lifeway’s Discipleship in Context and SmallGroup.com. A graduate of Samford University and Dallas Theological Seminary, she now lives in Nashville, TN, with her husband and their 1-year-old son.