Here we are on the edge of summer, and it’s time for the annual decision of what to do with our small groups. While many groups take a hiatus for the summer, others maintain consistency and meet each week. As a group leader over the years, I’ve made decisions across the board. Yet I’ve found that some measure of consistency is the best recourse for maintaining an appropriate and effective expectation for group members. So while we continue to meet regularly, I make our Bible study curriculum based on the uniqueness of the summer season.
With this in mind, here a few recommendations for you this summer. While not an exhaustive list by any means, the small group studies below all meet the standards for a good study for your group over the summer.
Making Space by Jeff Vanderstelt
Who doesn’t need biblical instruction on how to manage the many expectations and tasks on us in our technology-driven world? The subtitle to this study is, “Making Time for What Matters Most.” Addressing topics such as rest, prayer, friendship, and family, Making Space is the perfect Bible study to redeem the time we have been given this summer.
James by Matt Chandler
While this insightful Bible study may pack a decent-sized punch, the Book of James is a great fit into the summer months. Author Matt Chandler is a brilliant communicator. Because of that, demands of the group leader are somewhat minimized. Also, the way the study is set up works in an environment where members can’t make it every week.
Pursuing Holiness by Philip Nation
Summer is a great time for reflecting and taking a pause to get ready for the fall, which has become the unofficial “new year” in American culture. It doesn’t take much to notice a drift away from holiness in our culture. In Pursuing Holiness, Philip Nation is intentional in emphasizing the ways we can pursue holiness during the hours, weeks, and months of our daily lives. This study meets all my criteria for this season. The videos range from 10 to 15 minutes, and the group expectations are flexible.
God Owns It All by Ron Blue
I like this small group study because it feels like a break in normal rhythms of group life since the topic represents a bit of a departure from the normal curriculum choice. Ron Blue has more than four decades of experience in the financial services industry. In this study, Ron Blue presents financial principles that are affirmed by the authority of Scripture and tested by the marketplace. Group members will be equipped to approach their finances with freedom, generosity, contentment, and confidence. It consists of 6 small group sessions, with exercises between group meetings. God Owns It All is a great experience for those easygoing summer nights.
Pray Like This by Steve Gaines and Michael Kelley
With six sessions, manageable videos, important topic, and easy to lead, Pray Like This makes for a powerful Bible study for your group this summer. Featuring introductions from Pastor Steve Gaines, each of the 6 videos is shot in documentary style. The study includes voices such as Kelly Minter, J.D. Greear, HB Charles, Ken Hemphill, Steve Aiken, and several other evangelical leaders. As I’ve said to many people, we talk a lot about prayer, but we don’t know enough about how to pray. Check out Pray Like This as you make decisions this summer.
These five recommendations represent only a partial list. I realize there are many choices for you this summer, but hopefully this list can be helpful to you along with the brief run-down of basic criteria for choosing your study for this summer. If you prefer an à la carte approach, I would encourage you to check out smallgroup.com, where you can choose from more than 3,000 small group studies using one search engine.