Summer is when many ministries of your church may switch gears and do things differently. Here are a few ways that summer can be for a time to refresh your small group leaders and groups.
Break the mold
Do your group leaders tell you they feel like they’re trying to cram too much into each group meeting? Then tell them to stop thinking of their group as a meeting! Your group is a set of relationships that just happens to meet regularly. Spend time outside of your regular gatherings catching up with each other and having those deeper conversations for which even a small group is too big. Encourage group members to have another couple over for dinner, a pool party, or even take a camping trip!
Shake things up
Maybe some leaders feel like each group gathering is too vanilla. If the agenda is always dessert…Bible study…prayer, it may be time to shake things up and get people out of their comfort zones. Look into a service project or missions opportunity that will get people out of rote answers and into living their faith. Many community service organizations need extra volunteers over the summer.
Consider passing the baton
Volunteer burnout can be a big problem for many churches. Adult ministries don’t always benefit from the same school year rhythms that children’s and student ministries do. When this happens, group leaders may serve month-in, month-out for years and feel worn down. Summer provides an ideal window of time for several different types of leadership transitions.
First, consider having an assistant or apprentice leader system at your church, and have them lead group gatherings during the summer. The group can still keep meeting, and the leader gets a break from having to do discussion prep for a few weeks!
Another idea is to launch new groups via multiplication during the summer. If a group grows too big, then keeping up with all of the members can be tough for a leader. Taking a qualified apprentice leader and two or three other families out to start a new group can help alleviate that burden. Summer is a great time to do this because it also helps make room for new guests in the fall.
Lastly, sometimes a group leader has just run his or her course. Often those who lead small groups are very involved in other areas of the church as well. Let group leaders know that summertime is a guilt-free off ramp for group leadership. Ideally, there is an apprentice leader ready and waiting to step in and keep the group moving forward. If not, many times a group member can be found who will respond to the call for group leaders.
When is a change needed?
There are a few basic metrics that can give a snapshot of group health. Attendance is the most foundational. How many people show up as well as meeting frequency can be good indicators of how much time and effort the leader is putting into meetings. FellowshipOne GO’s reporting gives ministry leaders quick and easy access to that kind of data.
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