ideas

How your group can make a difference this Summer

For small groups, the summer can be more than just going abroad for holidays and going incognito for six weeks. Summer can be a perfect time for the Church to give extra to their local community.

We love to have our small group socials, going on walks, described as “just a short one”, followed by a quick drink at the local pub in a quiet, secluded table away from everyone else.

But I would ask this question to our small groups – when was the last time your group made a difference to the community? What events did you organise that were an example of life lived to the full?

I’m not attempting to bash people with smart quips, or to say that believers don’t do enough in this particular season. But, I would like to suggest that we should get stuck in.

British summers offer a variety of possible events, despite frequent weather changes, and I’d like to suggest a few that could impact your community, and might just even get people interested in Jesus.

  • Fun-Days – Whether you have access to your local high street, or perhaps a village green, fun-days are a great way to meet your community with a whole load of activities: sports, face painting, creative performances, things that all ages can feel a part of.
  • Church in the Park – Fancy getting the Gospel of Jesus out to your community, but you don’t have a building? Hire a marquee, get out on your streets and start inviting people to multiple services you can run throughout the day. People’s lives can be transformed at any time, and this doesn’t have to be just on a Sunday morning.
  • Free Concerts – People love music, and if there is a free live music on offer, I guarantee most people will snatch up that offer. You could even get your small group along to an open mic event, it’s easy to start conversation with anyone else in the audience.
  • Social Action Work –If you want to show love to your community through good deeds then use the MATRIX Trust, who are brilliant at Social Action work, as inspiration. You could offer to paint your neighbours fence, completely redo someone’s garden, and maybe even take all their rubbish to the tip? Speak with your neighbours, see what needs to be done, then ask what you can do for them. If they ask why, you can use it as an opportunity to tell them about your faith.

These are just a few ideas that I know have worked before.

Get stuck in this summer: be brave, be bold, and show your community what Jesus’ love has changed for you.

By Chay
Chay is an aspiring filmmaker and photographer. He loves to tell bad puns, and is part of the ‘Pastor’s Kids Society’ in Surrey.

Fresh ideas for… small groups over the summer

Church can be a funny place during the summer. It can feel a bit disorienting as people take holidays, students come and go from university, and holiday activity camps bring a sudden influx of families. And small groups don’t know what they are doing either! Should they carry on meeting to try and accommodate those who aren’t away over the summer, or take a break as numbers dwindle?

It’s pretty impossible to keep things going at the same momentum as the rest of the year, so don’t try to force it. Here are four ideas your small group could try this summer to keep things rolling, but without exhausting yourself by trying too hard:

  1. Book club! Choose a book to read, maybe something light-hearted such as Cactus Stabbers by Jeff Lucas. It can be both a summer holiday read for the members of your group sunning themselves on beaches abroad and a great discussion point when you do get a chance to meet up.
  2. Socialise. Other small groups will also be wondering what to do with their summers, so why not meet together, support each other and get to know some more people in your church. You could make the most of an opportunity to do something different: worship evening, trip to the pub for a meal or a picnic and a prayer walk.
  3. Set up a group email, WhatsApp group or Facebook thread for your group to stay in touch over the summer. It doesn’t have to be anything more than just sharing prayer requests and encouraging things that you hear about whilst you are away. It’s a good way for your group to still support and care for one another, even if they aren’t in the same place.
  4. Choose Bible study material that works for both individuals and small groups so that people can study the same material in their own time that the people who don’t go away are looking at when they meet together. Something from the Small Group Toolbox range would be great, with books covering topics such as: discovering spiritual gifts, guidance, hearing God and identity.

My conclusion is that if Jesus says He’s there with us even when there are only a few of us, then we should keep meeting when we can over the summer.  ‘For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them’ (Matt. 18:20).

Use the smaller numbers attending your small group as an opportunity to do something a bit different over the summer!

 

About Emily Owen

Emily dreams of travelling the world and writing about the great things she sees God doing along the way. Whilst waiting for dreams to come true, she happily works for CWR, plays a lot of netball and is trying to learn Spanish.