3 Ways to Give Small Group Leaders a Break this Summer

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“This is the course I wish I would have had 35 years ago when I started small group ministry.” – Steve Gladen

Presenting our new online training course – “Align!” Align will help you learn the small group ministry essentials. It features…

  • 8 HD video session taught by Steve Gladen 
  • A downloadable workbook
  • Lesson discussion questions
  • An official Small Group Network completion certificate
  • A special gift to help further your Small Group Ministry

Learn more by watching the free course introduction & enroll here!

For most of us, summer will probably look different in many ways, and this might include your Small Groups. In a ‘normal’ summer, many groups might “take a break” or simply meet for fellowship gatherings. COVID-19 has changed things quite a bit, and for the sole purpose of staying connected and encouraged, many groups might choose to continue to meet this summer. Small Group leaders have been working around the clock, keeping everyone connected, cared for, and encouraged. They certainly deserve a break! Here are 3 ways group members can step up this summer to give leaders a much-needed break:

  1. Volunteer to coordinate fellowship events: This summer, ask for one or two volunteers from each group to coordinate a few fellowship events. This frees up the leader from having to do any planning, and they can simply attend and enjoy the fellowship. Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to gather in-person, outside. (If you’re unable to gather in-person, you can still consider doing this virtually). As you plan, be sure to set specific dates for each event, so everyone in the group can mark their calendars accordingly. Some fun ideas include:
    1. Outdoor BYO-BBQs. Consider who can/is willing to host the group in their backyard/home? Make sure there is enough space for everyone to safely “social distance.” To make it even easier (and safer), encourage each person to BYO-dinner! Spend the time enjoying fellowship & catching up with everyone — for many, this may be one of the first in-person group gatherings since COVID-19 began. This is also a great opportunity to come together and share with one another the lessons you have learned in the midst, the ways the Lord has grown you, and Scripture verses that were helpful to you in this time. End your time in prayer together.
    2. Summer Game Nights – There is no doubt many of us could use an extra dose of fun and laughter these days! Why not have some fun outdoor Game Nights this summer? Find someone else in your group who might be willing to coordinate these nights. Remember to consider things such as social distancing and minimizing things that everyone is touching. This is a great opportunity to foster connections among group members, and can also serve as an opportunity to invite outsiders to join in (if your #s and space allow, and everyone feels comfortable!) Here are a few game ideas to get you started:
      1. Group Trivia – come up with a set of questions specific to your group members and test your group’s knowledge. You can divide them into two teams. Questions might include what is the address of our Small Group hosts (where you meet); who’s birthday is in September; who in the group likes to fish, etc….
      2. Charades is always a fun one! Invite everyone in your group to come up with 5 words, Bible verses or people (if you want a Bible version) or even movies and write them out on cards. Collect cards & mix them into a pile. Split into two teams, and then each team takes turns acting out the cards they draw.
      3. Pictionary – You don’t need to buy the game to play! Group members can make up cards (with a Bible theme, if desired!) and all you need to do is set up a big drawing area. This is sure to bring lots of laughs too!
      4. 20 Questions – Ask each group member to bring an object from their home (hidden in a brown paper bag). Group members are only allowed to ask 20 questions “YES” or “NO” to try and guess what it is. If a questioner guesses the correct answer, that person wins, and becomes the next person to present their object.

2. Switch Facilitators for the Summer – If your group plans to meet consistently throughout the summer, why not ask a few group members to step up to facilitate the group discussion. This is a win-win in many ways: not only does the leader get a break and can simply participate in the group; others can see what facilitating is all about, and they might even find they like it! You could certainly continue to follow your Pastor’s sermon series, or try something new — such as choosing a book to read through together this summer. Whatever you choose, encourage all group members to share what they are learning!

3. Make it a Summer of Appreciation – This summer, make it a point to shower group leaders with appreciation! Encourage group members to think of some fun and practical ways they can show their appreciation throughout the summer. The simple act of being thankful and appreciating them will be a great encouragement and refreshment to your leader! Here are some fun ideas:

  1. Host a special outdoor dinner in their honor, and invite all group members to share something personal about how the leader has impacted them.
  2. Put together a gift basket filled with things that you know your leader likes. Everyone in the group can contribute something.
  3. Have some fun — be sneaky and decorate their front lawn with signs and other fun stuff, thanking them for all they do!
  4. Put together a photo album and/or memory book filled with photos, group memories, favorite Scripture verses, and also write out some prayers for your leader. What leader wouldn’t love this great keepsake??

In light of COVID-19, the simple act of encouraging Small Groups to meet throughout this summer will be beneficial to everyone. Small group members can rise to the challenge and help give their leaders a well-deserved break. By doing that, our Small Group leaders will be refreshed and ready to start up again in the Fall!