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Small Groups in the Summer

After talking recently with several of our small group leaders a common theme has emerged recently that the rest of us are probably pondering anyways. The thing several of you have communicated to me is that things with your small group are just a little slow during the summer. Your numbers are consistently lower than normal, seems like every week different people are missing so there is a lack of consistency, and you are just in a don’t know what to expect next week kinda pattern. You are trying to plan for the fall and for what God is going to do in your group but honestly you cant see it happening because after all, if people aren’t there or aren’t interested, how is anything going to happen in the fall? Is your group stagnating? Should you start considering some major changes to revitalize the group? Should you scrap the group all together?

Those are the kinds of thoughts that normally infiltrate the mind of a caring group leader during the 2nd half of summer. You need to know something: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This is common not only for small group leaders, but for ministry leaders and for lead pastors as well. The longing to see the ministry grow is tempered by the summertime low-involvement. At our church, consistently the summer seems to be the low-attendance time for us. So, let me share some thoughts ive had about taking advantage of the summertime as a small group leader.

For one, I never make big decisions about a small group based on what is happening during the summer. I may make big decisions about the group during summer because I have time to pray and meditate on the group during the summer, but I base those decisions more on the overall group experience during the previous fall and spring than I do on the past 5 weeks of summer. In other words, I try and think bigger picture with questions like: how many committed people/families were a part of the group this past year? If all of those will be there in the fall, how much room does that leave to bring in some new faces?

Also, I like to use the summer to invest in those who ARE committed to the group. Usually there will be one or two other people / families who are your most consistent group members in the summer. This is the perfect time to really build your friendship with them. Whether its having dinner with them, going fishing, going to a baseball game, or playing golf (insert any fun pastime here). I often tend to overlook these people when our group meets in the summer by saying something to them like “man, where is everybody?” The truth is they are likely the most important people to the health of my group and I should see that time as a way to focus my attention on them. That way, when the season comes where the group begins to grow in numbers, they will be ready to start investing into others as I have into them. Not to mention, its just more fun to do the best with what’s in front of you instead of complaining about what isn’t.

One last thing I take the summer to do is to get training on being a better leader. As a small group leader I can always grow and need ongoing training constantly. Since I am the small groups pastor at the Summit, I am constantly on the lookout for articles, books, and seminars I can go through with our leaders to give them as much useful help as possible during the summer when they may have a little extra time to read or listen to stuff.

Ive been teetering around saying this flat out, but I believe it so here it is: There is no better way to serve the local church than by serving as a small group leader. There is also no greater responsibility. The cool thing about the staff team I am on here at the Summit is that each of them will tell you with 100% honesty that serving in their respective ministries is the best way you can serve the church. That’s just the healthy tension that comes with working alongside people so passionate and talented in what God has called them to do.


  1. July 30, 2008 at 1:39 am

    True for churches as a whole. I want to pull my hair out at all the weekend vacations. It’s becoming very common year round to be honest. A weekend getaway is nice, but why not come on back before church? Really. You’ll be glad you did.

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