The weather is getting Studying in the Summertime…warmer, the kids are getting out of school, and vacations are on the horizon!  It’s the time when we collectively take a break from the rigorous activities that fill our calendars the other nine months of the year.  However, another interesting trend happens during the summertime in group life.  As people begin to take time off from the daily grind, they also check out from their spiritual lives, and specifically their involvement in Community Group.  So, how can you as a Community Group leader help your group members maintain a vacation mentality that comes with the summer season, without allowing group members to withdraw from the life-giving spiritual activities of the study of Scripture and authentic relationships?  Check out these options for “stand-alone studies” that will foster intentionality in your summertime group studies, while also taking into account the reality that several group members may be absent any given week…

1) Consider a study focus on leadership…

We are all leaders in some arena of our lives, and yet many group members do not consider themselves to be leaders.  Consider using video sessions from previous years of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit.  Each of these sessions can stand alone, and yet taken together will provide your group a real focus on developing who they are as a leader whether it be in their character, in their family, in their business, or in the church.  These videos can be checked out from the Community Group Curriculum Resource library.  Then, as a climax invite your group members to attend this year’s Global Leadership Summit.

Click here for a Group Discussion Guide template as well as a list of possible Leadership Summit sessions to use in study.

2) Consider a study focus on spiritual disciplines…

If there is any area of our spiritual lives that could use regular evaluation and instruction, it is our practice of the spiritual disciplines that help, “lead us to godliness” (1 Tim. 4:8).  Consider a focus on a different discipline each week of the summer for your study time.  Prayer, personal Bible Study, fasting, giving, evangelism, silence, solitude, meditation are just a few of the disciplines you could consider examining more closely.  Each week could build on itself, and yet can also stand alone.  Richard Foster’s classic, Celebration of Discipline would be an excellent resource to use in this kind of study focus.

3) Consider a study focus on “Life Margins”…

If the summer is profitable for nothing else, spiritually, it can afford the opportunity for many people to slow down and reflect.  Vacations, family visits, weekend get-aways can all lend themselves to taking a deeper look at how life is going.  Capitalize on this reflective spirit by doing a series of stand-alone studies related to margin in life.  One week might focus on finances, another week might focus on calendar, or extra-curricular activities.  Another week might focus on work life.  Andy Stanley’s series Take it to the Limit might be a good resource to use for this kind of summer study.  This kind of study focus will allow your group members to not just reflect what they wish was different about their life-margins, but also develop a plan to start changing what needs to be changed.

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