We have been leading a group at our church for the past year. We have a social gathering once each month. Each week we host a class during the adult education hour. I thought I would share a few ways we have attempted to maintain momentum for the gatherings.

 

January represents a point in the year (along with Fall) for looking out into the rest of the year. You may be thinking now about those plans for January and beyond. A plan can be mapped by using starting and stopping points and themes already embedded in the monthly calendar

 

Why

There are two reasons I think it is beneficial for every ministry in the church to map out their planned gatherings for the next 12 months.

 

1) It creates a relational rhythm. Rhythms set the depth and frequency. Rhythm depth is set by what kind of tone and conversation will take place at each gathering. For example, the monthly gathering is very non-threatening, with a casual tone and conversation. We have a meal, chit-chat, and play a silly game. The weekly class is pretty intense, with meaningful conversation.

 

The leader(s) need to establish what the purpose of the gathering is. Others involved need to be told the purpose and tone too. Then guests invited can be communicated what to expect.

 

Rhythm frequency then, helps communicate how connected and invested the group is to be. Frequency indicates how quickly relationships with grow too. Relationships take time. How often the group meets should communicate something about these expectations.

 

2) You always have an invitation touchpoint. For new people having next steps is how people are brought into the life of the church.

 

What

The weekly and monthly gatherings run on two calendar tracks. Our adult education classes happen inside three semesters, with a Fall kick-off. Our monthly gatherings go from September through June, taking July and August off.
There is always something seasonally specific that can be attached to each monthly gathering.
• September can be a kick-off, launch celebration (September is the other January)
• October: a Fall party
• November: Thanksgiving
• December: Christmas
• January: the new year
• February has Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl
• March starts Spring (or the hope of Spring)
• April usually has Easter that falls inside it
• May is the end of school and the start of summer
• June is the conclusion of the year for us

If you go year-round, July and August are easy months to think of activities, because you have the option of doing something outdoors, which you don’t have in the winter.

 

The weekly gatherings are chopped up this way:
• September through November is semester 1 (13 weeks)
• December through New Year is off (5 weeks)
• January to Easter is semester 2 (13 weeks)
• Easter through May is off, often with an alternative class (8 weeks)
• June through August is semester 3 (13 weeks)

Obviously this is more art than science. This is simply one way we have organized it. There are multiple variables that come into play regarding what would work best considering the purpose of the group, relational rhythm, the age/affinity of the group, and what would work best alongside the rest of the church calendar.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you map out the calendar for a particular group:
• Why is this group meeting?
• Who is this group for?
• How often will this group meet?
• Where will this group meet?
• What is the expectation of depth to these meetings?

 

Check out this article too:

4 Factors to Balance in Your Preaching Calendar by Rick Warren

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