Our summer is coming up really quick. There are only a few weeks left of school. During the summer, our small groups take a break. Meaning, our small groups only meet from October to June and then for the summer all of the groups are officially off. Now, not all of them stop meeting. Actually for the most part most of them still meet during the summer just not in a normal HSM small group as we plan for them through the year. My own group will still meet, but most of it is just hanging out and enjoying the summer together. Wednesday nights are still blocked off for all of us, we still meet, but it usually is at the beach or in a pool of some sort. We still DO LIFE together even we are not going through a curriculum.
I think it is really important that we take a break for the summer, and here are a few reasons why:
It gives our leaders a break. We know it is asking a ton for our leaders to give up a night a week during the year and a break for the summer allows our leaders to take a breath, gear up for the next season. We tell all our leaders, they are the pastors to their students and it can take a toll to care for their group and lead a study, so during the summer we don’t make them lead a study. Most of them still are hanging out with students throughout the summer, but it is always fun and activities. I think giving our leaders a break is a huge reason why we have so many serving for multiple years in a row.
Students, sports and vacations. We realized that during the summer, fall sports pick up big time, students are on vacations and families are gone a lot. So we want to help out the group dynamics by allowing times in which students and leaders don’t need to worry about who is coming or not. During the school year students are pretty such locked down because parents don’t want them missing school. We want families to spend time together and we want our leaders to have to worry about who would be there or not.
We have mid-week services. While groups take a break for the summer, we add 7 weeks of mid-week services. Almost all of our groups meet on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, so during the summer we have services on Wednesdays that have a discipleship setting. It is just music, communion, and a message. Very basic and easy service and it is geared to challenge students in their faith throughout the summer.
Taking a break makes it exciting when groups start-up again. When we take a break, students miss meeting consistently every week. When we start-up registration again in August, students sign up and get friends to sign up as well. We make it a huge deal and students make it a big deal. The energy is always high and exciting when it comes to putting groups together in the fall.