For those of us who are headed into summer season, this post is for you. If you aren’t approaching that season yet, file this post to read at a later time!
Summer can be a challenging, yet deep time for community, can’t it? I mean I live in this tension over the summer between slowing down while still wanting greater community and my schedule filling up faster than I know what to do with. The kid’s baseball practice, the neighbors’ graduation parties, the vacations, and family visits. The list goes on and on. How quickly our summer calendars fill up. Yet, many of us still like to arrange our calendars with a student mindset. As much as we can, I think it’d be safe to say, most of us try to take a little break during the summer. We may take one or two things off our plates and exchange it for fun parties and activities! But, also remember, this challenge of busyness is what creates ample opportunity for community. This tension is actually a good tension!
It’s where we meet new people. We invite them over, throw something on the grill, and we are able to find new rhythms of rest. Just because we may alter and change our calendars to be lighter or different in the summer, doesn’t mean we should change how and who we connect with. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to take a break from community or do life alone. That doesn’t sound like a fun summer. Quite the contrary, we can explore new ways of creating community over the summer.
If I could sum up best practices for short- term community over the summer it’d be this:
- Don’t isolate your calendar out of a need for rest. Sure, breaks and rest for Small Group Point People (SGPP) are essential, but don’t mistake a new rhythm in your calendar with no need for community. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we all need community in some way in all seasons.
- As SGPP, use this time to collect your thoughts and dream big dreams. Use it as a mid-year checkpoint. Where do you want your small group to be a year from now? What do you hope to accomplish in the next six months? Who do you need to disciple/invest in in the coming months?
- Always continue the conversation. Even if you may be taking a break from small groups, continue the conversation about why and how groups are important. Encourage others to pray about leading in the future. Appreciate those who led previously.
- Lead a group as if it will last all year. For some of us, in the summer season our groups are shorter time periods. What if you led in such a way that the group bonded like a year-long group? Who knows? Maybe it will! Don’t underestimate the power of short-term groups.
- Focus on replenishing yourself while also replenishing others. Do what you love, what gives life to you. You’ll be so glad once fall comes.
Sure, summers may be a challenge sometimes with busy schedules and agendas, but remember, sometimes with the greatest challenges come the best opportunity for creative community.