I love summer, but summer affects our Bible study groups, usually in two ways:
- Many churches place their groups on hiatus during the summer months. Everything kicks back in when school resumes.
- Many churches have year-round groups, but they experience a lower attendance during the summer months because of vacations and travel.
Groups can benefit from taking a summer break, and groups can equally benefit from meeting year-round. Personally, I prefer to meet year-round. Discipleship does not take a break, and although not everyone can be present every week in the summer, I can still provide a journey into God’s Word for those who are there.
However, lower attendance (or no attendance for groups on summer break) can negatively impact a group. You can do several things to keep your group energized—even if they don’t see each other at the weekly group meeting.
- Stay in touch. Use email, text, or an actual phone call. When people are on vacation, you can still reach out. A quick contact simply communicates you value their friendship.
- Pray. As you reach out, ask if you can pray for them in a specific way. Summer break can have its own challenges: travel hassles, dysfunctional family reunions, kids off to camp, and so on. You may not be meeting regularly, but you can still care for each other through prayer.
- Encourage discipleship. If your group is reading a Bible book or another book together, encourage them to continue reading. No preaching needed—“YOU BETTER KEEP READING!” The best encouragement can come from a short text or email, sharing an insight you gained in your own reading or personal study.
- Get together. Plan a cook-out, a pool party, a game night, a movie night, or…well, anything! It doesn’t have to be elaborate; just get together. Some of my favorite events were spontaneous. And don’t look for that “perfect” date when everyone can attend; you’ll rarely find it. Just get in touch with the group and say, “Let’s get together next Friday for __________. Who’s in?” Not everyone will be there, but if your group does this frequently, no one ever feels completely left out. Frequency is the key.
I love summer. I love the less-hectic pace of summer that allows more get-togethers. I love to take advantage of these, because frequent get-togethers have a way of keeping my group energized.
And they keep me energized!
Lynn Pryor is a team leader for adult resources at LifeWay. He and his wife, Mary, lead a Bible study group for young adults and have survived raising two sons to adulthood. A graduate of Southwestern Seminary, Lynn has previously pastored and served churches in Texas. Follow him on his blog at lynnhpryor.com.