As the springtime pollen settles and the summer sun starts to scorch, it’s tempting to allow that summer heat to affect your small groups, too. With vacations and conferences, camps and family reunions, summertime is notorious for poor small group attendance. Yet with the proper attitude and the gusto to plan ahead, below are three ways to keep your groups from dying this summer:
- Plan ahead.
I try to live by the Boy Scout motto, “Always Be Prepared.” And its effectiveness has proven true! For example, when you invite someone to an event such as a wedding, you send out invitations three months in advance so you will increase your odds of more people showing up. The same is true for your small groups: if you provide your group members with your summertime plans—whether that be a new book, an online Bible study, or a group camping trip—the better odds you’ll have that members will prioritize your group on their calendars.
- Emphasize the importance of year-round discipleship.
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean we have to get spiritually stagnant. In the same vein of being prepared, try giving a three- to five-minute “blurb” to your group about why you plan on keeping up with meetings over the summer months. Get philosophical, if you must. Because unlike summer, discipleship doesn’t take any breaks. If group members see that you prioritize your ministry, they might prioritize their attendance.
- Have fun.
Some of my fondest memories come from my college small group in the summer at my home church. I looked forward to attending every summer because my primary community came from this small group. Because we could have fun with one another, we could trust one another with our vulnerable moments. Terry hosted “kickball Mondays,” where we’d play (pretty competitively) and go out to dinner afterwards. And when it was time to have our Bible study, Pam would bake chocolate chip cookies. My leaders created a relaxed environment, which enabled us to open up more.
Caroline Case is a proud Nashville transplant from Naples, Florida, who serves as the Production Editor for Lifeway’s smallgroup.com and custom Bible study teams. Caroline has a Bachelor of Communication from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. She is pursuing her Master of Arts in English at Belmont University in Nashville, where she will go on to pursue her doctorate and teach.