Many groups tend to “take a break” for the summer, meeting for times of fellowship and fun. Why not encourage your small group members to make it a “Summer of Purpose?” The most common question that everyone asks is, “What Am I Here For?” This summer, you and your group members could purposefully use a book centered around the topic of purpose, as “tools” to have spiritual conversations with others, helping them discover the answers to their questions. Prayerfully, in the process, they will be drawn to Christ and eager to learn more. As His disciples, we’ll also re-discover the joy of our own purpose in sharing Jesus with others!
How does “Summer of Purpose” work?
First, you’ll choose a book that is centered around the topic of purpose. You’ll want to find a book that is relatable to your “partner’s” stage of life and circumstances, and also consider if they are a believer or not. Here are some examples: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (great for anyone), Made for This by Jennie Allen (ideal for believers who already have the spiritual discipline of prayer in place), Halftime by Bob Buford (perfect for those in the “second-half” of life), and Identity by TD Jakes (good for anyone).
Then, think of someone in your life (outside church) that you could “partner” with – someone who is willing to read this along with you, and discuss it throughout the summer. Maybe it’s a family member, a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or even someone you know from the gym or your children’s school. This can be done individually, or couples could “partner” with other couples. I think we all know someone who could use a little extra hope, joy, and Jesus in their life! Pray for an open door to invite them, and for hearts that would be willing to participate.
This is something that is highly relational and flexible — simply find what works best for you and your “partner” and then begin! This will look different for everyone. Maybe you decide to text each other daily what you read and liked, a Scripture verse that spoke to you, or a question that challenged you. Maybe you’ll plan to meet weekly for a walk and talk about what you’ve been learning. Whatever you decide, the important thing is read and discuss, and encourage one another along in the journey of discovering God’s purpose for your life.
Together as a Small Group, you could decide to stay connected to everyone (small group members + “partners”) using email or a Facebook page, or some other app (like What’sApp) to continually encourage, support, and pray for one anther as you go through this journey together. It’ll remind everyone that even though this will be done in “partnerships” or small groups, you’re all in this together – and part of something bigger!
Benefits of “Summer of Purpose”
Doing this together as a Small Group provides a great opportunity to bring each of these “partners” together for a fellowship get-together where they can meet even more people and be influenced by Christ. Be sure to help them make some new connections, make them feel welcome and loved, and invite them back again!
If you encourage each of of your small groups to give this a try throughout summer — pray that it would be a fruitful and transformational summer outreach, and watch and see what God will do! At the end of your “Summer of Purpose” host a celebration (like an ice cream social – who doesn’t love ice cream?!!) and invite everyone who participated. This is the perfect time to collect stories of how God used this to reveal any answers they were searching for. This is also the perfect opportunity to help outsiders take “next steps” — maybe it’s a simple invitation to come join them on Sunday mornings for the fall Series, and maybe some would be willing to connect with a Small Group for the fall. With God, the possibilities are endless! Have fun and enjoy your “summer of purpose.”