2 October Steps that Sustain New Groups through the Holidays

Share via:

I often say, “there’s an upside and a downside to almost everything.” Take starting new groups in September, for example.

One of the real upsides of launching new groups in September is a fairly long run together before they hit the holidays. As those early weeks of September and October go by, group members are getting to know one another; beginning to feel a sense of belonging and even looking forward to their next meeting.

One of the downsides? A new group that’s only met 8 or 9 times hasn’t yet developed the connective tissue that comes with being together four months or longer. New groups that take a break at Thanksgiving with promises of picking back up in January, often never meet again.

How to help your newest groups survive the holidays

Is there anything that can be done to help them?

Yes! There are 2 things you can do in October (or early November) that will help your newest groups make it through the holidays and meet again in early January.

First, you can provide a plan for your newest groups. The plan can be delivered by email from you (or by a coach). My plan for new groups typically includes:

  • A recommended follow-up study to the launching study. We typically begin talking about the follow-up study in week 3 or 4 of the launching study. New groups can often do one or two sessions of the follow-up study before Thanksgiving (and sometimes another session the week after), leaving three or four sessions to look forward to after the holidays. See also, 4 Keys to Choosing a Follow-Up Study for New Groups.
  • A suggestion that they schedule a Christmas party, complete with an idea list for things to do together (a potluck, bring your favorite dessert, an ornament gift exchange, a white elephant gift exchange, etc.).
  • A list of ways their group can serve together over the holidays. The list might include a number of serving opportunities in the community (serve a meal at a homeless shelter, sing carols at a nursing home or hospital, deliver Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner care packages, etc.). The list might also include serving opportunities at your church (i.e., serve as greeters at Christmas Eve services, provide a meal for the volunteers and staff putting on the Christmas Eve services, etc.).
  • Schedule their first January meeting. Have everyone take a look at the January calendar and actually schedule the group meeting (no later than 7 to 10 days after New Year’s.

Second, provide a handout or an email attachment of the plan so leaders can share with their group. Here’s a sample of a recent plan I shared.

It really is as simple as that! Now’s the time to do it. Don’t wait too late or you’ll miss the window.

Download a copy of Skill Training: Help Your Life Group Survive the Holidays!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email