The air is getting cooler, the leaves are disappearing from the trees, and football season is in full swing. We are also heading into the toughest season all year for small groups. Winter brings a myriad of parties, vacations, and holidays. It’s tempting at this point to not fight against the busyness and just cancel group until the new year. But by the time January hits, the group has lost any kind of momentum and has to start over—or completely disband because of lost interest.
Holidays can look different when your small group is considered friends and family instead of just members of a group. I want to spend time with friends during those seasons. We may not choose to meet every week for a study, but I don’t need a break from my friends for a few months. That mind-set helps me stay excited about our group even when the schedule is inconsistent. With that in mind, Here are five things your group can do over the next two months to maximize the opportunities:
- Have a plan.
The first step to your group surviving–and even thriving–through the holiday season is to have a plan, communicate the plan, and stick to the plan. Being proactive and getting ahead in scheduling gatherings as holiday seasons get closer is vital to ensure group health. Clarity is crucial. Let your group members know what the holiday plan is so they can prepare.
- Schedule a pre-Thanksgiving alternative meal.
Everyone loves to eat, and what could be better than a Mexican-themed Thanksgiving meal? The crazier the food theme, the better. They will get plenty of traditional turkey and cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving day.
- Serve together at a homeless shelter or ministry on Thanksgiving morning.
There are multiple opportunities around cities to serve on Thanksgiving day. You can be done by mid-morning and ready for your family celebration by 1:00 p.m. Nothing prepares your heart for being truly thankful than serving as a group for those without.
- Plan an early December Christmas party and then take a break.
Most parties don’t get started until the second week of December, so prepare your group now to get their ugly sweaters washed before December 1st! Don’t worry about attempting to have weekly group meetings through December. The normal rhythm of work and school parties will soon wipe out everyone’s calendars.
- Get your first meeting in January on the calendar now.
Instead of scrambling to put something together in the whirlwind of the new year, go ahead and pick the date so that everyone can be ready for it after the festivities and relatives have disappeared. If you haven’t already picked your study for the new year, go ahead and do that before your last meeting in December. This will give everyone something to look forward to coming back in January.
Holidays do not have to kill your group’s momentum. If you get creative and plan ahead, they can give your members something to look forward to every year.