When summertime hits, people go places.
Beaches, amusement parks, lakes, cabins, vacation homes; you name it, people are eager to shake off their cabin fever and take a break from their day-to-day routine.
And while summer is a great time to get away and recharge, you don’t want your ministry to feel disconnected from its membership.
Keep your ministry fully alive by changing pace to match the vibe of the season. This is an especially important time to encourage your members and small groups to stay connected and informed — even when they aren’t always present — through online channels like email and social media.
Need some help getting started? Here are four tips to help your ministry’s small groups stay connected during the “off” season:
1. Be flexible.
If you need to change some dates, times, or locations for small group meetings during the summer, that’s OK.
Move things around to allow the most people the greatest opportunity to attend. Holding small group meetings every other week or rotating meeting locations to a beach, coffee shop, poolside location, or park will keep things fresh.
And remember: while your members may not be there in person for every meeting, they are almost always on email. Send out group emails to keep people connected by letting them know where they are meeting each week.
2. Join hands.
If your small group is suffering from loss of participation, it’s likely other groups are too. Turn your small groups into larger groups during the summer by brainstorming new ideas from other members of your church.
Consider joining groups together for special meet-ups, outings, or projects. A shared, potluck style meal or trip to a sporting event are just a couple of many ideas you can do with multiple groups. Don’t forget to invite members who aren’t in small groups to participate in these events as well — they may come once and be hooked!
3. Get social.
Sometimes, just letting relationships blossom is the best way to boost your small group participation.
Playing games and organizing trust building exercises helps stimulate conversations that lead to laughter, fun, and more shared experiences. Always have a camera handy in these moments so you can capture and share pictures of your events, small group meetings, volunteering opportunities, etc.
Promote the pictures you take on your website, in your email newsletter, and on social media to encourage more of your members to join in next time.
This taps into the feeling of “FOMO” — or Fear of Missing Out. It’s only natural for members to be more interested in participating if they see great events happening and other church members growing and giving together.
4. Do good.
Consider getting your members out into the neighborhood to serve. This allows people to see the impact that they bring to the community.
Serving a family in the church, handing out water bottles to hikers or the homeless, or serving at a soup kitchen are all great options.
Use email to invite members to participate in these events. After an event has ended, follow-up with those who participated and offer other ways for members to give back and continue to stay involved.
If possible, share a special overview of how your church was able to help the community each month. When members receive emails that show the impact they’ve helped create, it’s a spiritual moment.
Keep your ministry active all summer long.
Whatever you determine fits the needs and desires of your ministry and small group members, the goal is to keep it casual and easy to join.
Make attending group activities the can’t-miss events of the summer, and encourage small group engagement throughout the summer by keeping your members connected through email. This is a sure-fire way to maintain church health and build momentum into the fall.
Looking for additional tips or insight to keeping your church thriving all summer long? Don’t fear the summer slump and check out these Actionable Ministry Tips to strengthen your ministry all summer long.