'tis the Season ... to be jolly ... to shop ... to bake ... to visit family & friends ... to go to parties ... to reflect ... to celebrate Christ's birth ... to take a break. Most of us probably don't think of Christmas as a time to take a break, but it certainly can be.
We love our small groups, but many of us choose to take a break over the holiday season because there is so much going on. This "taking a break" is actually a very healthy practice year round. Most things in life have a rhythm or season, and small groups should as well. No matter how much we love a season (pick yours: baseball season, football season, summer, winter, school, etc.), if it never ended, we'd most likely get bored with it or take it for granted and lose interest. It's exciting to anticipate the coming season as the next one nears.
Many of our groups have already begun meeting in three seasons a year. For 2016, they are:
- Winter/Spring: January 24 - April 30 (Small Group Connect: Sunday, January 17)
- Summer: May 29 - August 20 (Small Group Connect: Sunday, May 22)
- Fall: September 25 - December 10 (Small Group Connect: Sunday, September 18)
There are a lot of advantages to this "seasonal" approach to small groups:
- Leaders get a well-deserved break from the responsibility of leadership to allow time to refresh and refocus before the next season begins.
- Regular attendance increases, because people are more willing to commit to a 11-14 week period of time, and they won't want to miss out.
- Breaks are great times to take part in social or serving opportunities with your group and invite others.
- Having an "end date" allows people to easily step out for a season to take part in another opportunity (ex. Marriage Matters, Jim Platt, etc.).
- New people are more likely to try out a small group for a short period of time rather than making a commitment to something for an unlimited period of time.
- Groups will have an easier time multiplying at the end of a season.
- The group gets a fresh start, which is especially helpful if bad habits have begun to creep in.
Time away makes us begin to miss meeting and anticipate getting together again.
I hope you will take time this season to enjoy the Christmas break. May it be one where you are able to rest, refresh and reflect - and anticipate a great new season for your small group!