Oh...the weather outside is frightful...But the fire is so delightful...
This sounds often like what can happen to church attendance around the holiday season. But does this have to be true of our groups? Not by any means. In fact, I believe that the holiday season is one of the prime times to connect with an ongoing group (Life Group, Sunday School, etc). It requires though work on both sides, the group and the individual to see that group attendance doesn't have to fall off, but can sustain and I believe even grow during this time.
How does this happen?
1. Contact, contact, contact. Have you ever heard these words before from me? Yes! It's because they are true. The groups that experience growth and even connect people into their groups during any time of the year are the ones that systematically and intentionally contact their people (especially their absentees). Trust me it can be easy to let people slip through the cracks for a month of holiday time and blame it on the holiday season, but people, in reality, are not taking that much vacation. They just need to be reminded to be at church on Sunday and to know that someone is looking for them. Please do not let this holiday season go by without contacting your entire roll at least one time. The difference will be amazing in your group when people know this is a time that you care for them.
2. Invite, invite, invite. We are really good around the holiday season to have a few extra special events for our groups. We are also more open to fellowship and sharing about things that have a general appeal through the holiday season. This is a great time to find new people to invite to your group. There are lost people that are struggling with Christmas season plans just like Christians are. There are unchurched people that desire to connect their family with other families. There are people that just need to know that a church wants them to be there. If that is true of your church and your group, then take some time to intentionally invite people to come. Plan a breakfast for a Sunday morning and make it a point to invite new families to be there.
3. Fellowship, fellowship, fellowship. What is a good holiday without some good Christmas parties? What better time to see your group grow in fellowship and encouragement when you can gather around and celebrate Jesus' birth? The options though for fellowship go beyond just a party. If your church hosts a Christmas concert, drama, or even a Christmas candlelight service, then plan to attend together as a group and even sit together. You can go as far as to have dinner together before or after. Whatever you want to do, but make sure that you stop as a group and take a moment to remember why you are together: the birth of Christ, which led to His death and resurrection, which is our hope!
These three things are very simple and yet so often we forget about doing them during Christmas. Let's not get our groups caught up in the busyness of Christmas and experience a slump. Let's be active as a group about growing during this time and building up the body of Christ!