Summer Small Groups – Are They Worth It?

This week, our summer growth groups kick-off at The Journey. So far, over 90% of our adults are in a summer group. We should settle in at around 105% participation this summer – a lot of people will wait until this week to join a group. (Our goal is always 100% of our adults in a small group . . . measured against weekend attendance).

Activate by Nelson Searcy and Kerrick ThomasFor the next few days, you can see an example of how we do online sign-ups for groups by click here (I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t fill out the form, but feel free to steal anything you like).

One of the big questions we get about our semester-based small groups system has to do with summer groups. A lot of people question whether summer groups are necessary at all.

I know where this thinking comes from… Summer groups are usually ‘flat’ in attendance compared with the spring and fall semesters. In fact, we’ve thought long and hard about skipping a summer semester but each year we continue to push summer groups.

Here’s why we keep doing summer groups:

– Summer allows for a lot of creative groups that will attract new people (bible studies in the park, fitness groups, bring your kids groups, bbq/cook out groups, etc.)

– Summer is the perfect time for new group leaders to get their feet wet (this summer almost 50% of our group leaders are new!)

– Summer is a great time for returning group leaders to take some time off. We ‘force’ our group leaders to take one semester off a year to prevent burnout. I’d rather them take the summer off since the spring and fall are the times when we need as many groups as possible.

– Summer is a great time for many people to join a group who otherwise have busy fall/spring schedules

Spiritual growth shouldn’t stop just because it’s hot outside 🙂

Hope this helps answer your question about summer groups. If you have more questions just use the Ask Nelson button on the right or post them below. I’ll answer as many as possible.


P.S. For more on the complete Groups system we use to attract 100% of our adult attendance to groups, check out my brand new book Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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