6 Easy Ways to Destroy Community This Summer

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Don't overreact when crazy summer schedules jack up your strategy for community. Instead, learn to be flexible.

Welp, here it is. Summer. The time for vacations, baseball tournaments, camps and fireworks. Time for the pools to open and the schools to close. Crank up the lawnmower, fire up the grill and …

… prepare for everyone’s normal schedule to be completely jacked up.

And if you’re a small group leader, you know exactly how difficult this can be. Tuesday nights were wonderful, until little Johnny started baseball. Thursday mornings were perfect, until Laura’s two kids weren’t in school throughout the summer. Thursday evenings worked for everybody … until, for six weeks straight, someone was on vacation.

Before the summer hits, you and your small group need to have a plan. Be ready for the chaos that is June and July so that when it drops, your group survives.

To help you out, I thought I’d give you some tips. Depending on whether you want to destroy your group or not, choose which list fits you best.

Six easy ways to destroy community over the summer:

1. Meet every week at the same time.

A rule’s a rule, am I right? These people signed the small group covenant. If they can’t abide by it now, then kick ‘em out.

2. Just stop meeting.

After all, if you can’t meet every week, what’s the point? These people should be more committed.

3. Send angry tweets at the people who don’t show up every week.

Because nothing’s better than a good ole public defamation.

4. Assume that the people in your group that don’t show up every week have no commitment to the group.

Also, assume that they don’t really love Jesus. Be sure to include them in your “they really must need our prayer” list.

Ben Reed Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN, area. He holds an Mdiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ben is also an avid coffee drinker and CrossFitter, but not at the same time. Catch up with Ben at BenReed.net. In his book, "Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint," he helps leaders through the process of putting a small group ministry together and creating a place where people belong so they can become.

More from Ben Reed or visit Ben at http://www.BenReed.net/

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  • Jen Smith

    Wow. I had 1 and 4 happen to me in a small group that started in January (not even summer). And itI didn’t just comea from thethe leader, but from members. I stopped goibg. They made me feel like I’d been in a cult, not a group for connection.

    I have a much better group now.

    • Peter Mahoney

      As negative as those things are Jen, did that really necessitate breaking covenant with your original small group? Every individual and every group for that matter is unique… some are more mature while others are not. So we go with what Paul says and we bear with one anothers burdens (imperfections) and we forgive one another quickly as we strain to maintain the unity we share in the Spirit.

      Small groups are like churches… none are perfect. So every once in a while your toes get stepped on. Deal with it according to Matthew 5 and move on. That’s what growth is all about. Your comment makes it sound as if you believe the small group exists to meet your needs… it’s not. You are there to meet someone elses.

      • Jen Smith

        Not sure what happened to my original response, but: Peter, your remarks in your mind may make sense, but you don’t know the details. If I’m going to invest time & energy in a group, guilt is unwarranted. In three months of weekly meetings, I missed two. Both times related to the death of my sister. I deserved compassion, not guilt.

        • Guest

          …and the leader constantly interupted members mid-sentence. Tell me why I should have stayed where I wasn’t appreciated.

      • Jen Smith

        Peter: there was no covenant to break. This topic discusses what destroys community. I was agreeing & shared my experience to affirm the destructive potential of unhealthy group actions, not a few minor issues. So get past it and accept that unhealthy groups are out there. And people are turned off by it. Our tim is too valuable to be treated disrespectfully.

  • http://www.SmallGroupChurches.com/ Andrew Mason

    Well said Ben! Have a great summer!


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