The heat has finally arrived, signaling that Summer is here. You may start hearing comments like: “So it sounds like everyone’s going to be pretty busy this summer, how about we take a break and catch back up again in the fall?” or “I think we should take a break this summer, I know I could use it.” Don’t let your group get sucked into the Summer Slump! The writer of Hebrews says: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24-25). Not sure if the first century church battled the Summer Slump, but the principle applies–this is actually prime time for plotting the spiritual course ahead! Here are three questions every leader should ask this summer…
1. Where Are We Now? (Evaluate)
Summer is a great time to take inventory of your group and evaluate the current status of each individual. This helps you determine how far you are from where you want to be, and sets you up for the next steps necessary to keep moving in that direction. In short, assess the growth needs of the group. Use your study time, group service activities, prayer time, and even your fellowship times to answer these kinds of questions:
- What knowledge do members need?
- What do they need more practice in?
- What does my group care about?
- Who hasn’t been baptized?
- What experiences have our members had?
- How new are members to the group, or to following Christ?
- What unique service skills/abilities do my group members have?
- Who would benefit from a course like Starting Point?
- What challenges do members have?
2. Where Is God Working? (Celebrate)
Find ways to celebrate things that are happening in the group and in the lives of people in your group. If you’re having a hard time identifying things to celebrate, perhaps your definition of a win is a bit too narrow. Have the people in your group shared their stories? Helping people focus and understanding that “being known” is an essential part of your group experience. There is something very powerful about sharing your story. People are impacted by stories. Real-life examples of life change will inspire members to want experience the same. This may not be natural for everyone, but it will show that every person has value and everyone will benefit from the experience.
3. How Can We Improve? (Innovate)
We’ve all heard of the “less is more” principle—it definitely applies to group life. As Summer hits schedules fluctuate and attentions are pulled. People expect summer to be different. You will be more effective as a community group leader if you narrow your focus in your group time. Focus only on what specific wins you want your group to achieve in a given time. Teach and encourage only those steps that will help them achieve their goals. Leverage this time to promote less so that later you can achieve more. Doing less this summer will help refine the vision for your group and set you up to be able to make necessary changes going forward to better facilitate life change among the members of your group.
Maximize the opportunity to use this summer to chart the course ahead and keep momentum rolling! How are you planning to use this summer in your group? LEAVE A REPLY
One thought on “Three Questions to Ask…”
Thanks for sharing these insights, Josh. Summer does need to “feel” different for people…schedules need to be relaxed, life needs to slow down or at least change its pace. We’ll change up our group time by doing the DVD study by Chip Ingram on Spiritual Warfare. This series came highly recommended by Jim Power’s.
I would also like to recommend groups give serious consideration to your consideration of having people share their life stories. We started doing this a few years ago and it had a powerful impact on everyone and brought our group closer together. I’d be happy to share with any teachers who are considering this how we did it. Barbara