During the summer months many groups choose to take a break from regular gatherings; other groups press on with their regular rhythms all summer; still others find some reduced meeting schedule to work best for them. It’s important to remember, that small group is not a weekly gathering; it’s a community centered on Christ. It’s a people, not an event. So however you meet, whether regularly or irregularly, its still vital to remain in community.
On the one hand, summer can be a busy time of travel and managing sport schedules. On the other hand, the summer months can be some of the best opportunities to build relationships with one another and share life with our neighbors. It would be a shame to “take off” all summer!
Summer is an opportunity for new rhythms of relationships and renewal. We typically spend far less time in the living room and much more time outdoors. Consider taking your group out to one of the common spaces in our city: a park, play-ground, or forest. There are also a number of art fairs, barbecue contests, and outdoor concerts—as well as team recreational sports and community clean up events you can participate in together.
Summer—part of the historical season of Ordinary Time—is also a great opportunity to re-orient ourselves around the truth of God’s Word, the fellowship of God’s People, and the glories of God’s World. At Advent, we long for Christ’s appearance; at Christmas, we celebrate his birth and life; at Epiphany (January), we feast and live in Christ’s power; at Lent, we practice repentance and lament; at Easter, we celebrate New Life; and after Pentecost (post Easter), we experience the Holy Spirit and practice “Ordinary Time.”
Ordinary Time begins with the celebration of Pentecost Sunday, when the Spirit descended with power on the early church and moved its members to worship and mission (Acts 2:1-13). In response to the Good News about Christ (Acts 2:14-40), these Christians re-oriented their lives around one another—to the study of God’s Word in community, to eating and drinking together, to providing for one another, to regular worship, and to sharing Christ with their neighbors together (Acts 2:41-47).
In Ordinary Time we especially remember three biblical themes: (1) God’s saving action in history, through our Sunday worship and the study of his Word in community; (2) The renewing experience of the Holy Spirit through our prayer, fellowship and evangelism; and (3) The anticipation of a new heavens and earth, where everything sad comes untrue and his praise never ends.
Consider joining a Gateway Group this summer to journey together through our sermon series “The Jesus I Never Knew”. Then take some time in your groups to discuss how you might make the most of this summer. What new rhythms could you cultivate? How can you celebrate? Which community spaces can you enjoy together? How can you let the Holy Spirit unite your hearts together and work through you to invite your neighbors into fellowship with Christ?