When I was in elementary school, I remember getting a little sad when May rolled around and it was time to sign yearbooks. Summer has always been my favorite season, but there was something that felt more bitter than sweet about closing a chapter and signing off on a school year. However, I held back these feelings, got out my pink pen, and inscribed goodbyes to my peers.
Back then, one of the coolest ways to cap off a school year and sign a yearbook was to write “HAGS.” Twenty years ago, that was the hip way to say “have a great summer.” Once I got off the bus on yearbook signing day and looked through the inscriptions featuring Sharpies®, mechanical pencils, and even some new cursive skills, I’d look at the letters of “HAGS” and think, Wow, I guess I really won’t see these friends until school starts back in August.
Your small group can have a different summer experience from my dramatic elementary school line of thinking. Yes, you can have a great summer, even while your group isn’t meeting regularly—but that doesn’t mean communication has to end with an acronym until the fall!
Here are some ways to truly have a great summer with your small group and stay connected, even when the chapter of consistent, weekly get-togethers closes for a few months:
- Voice memo updates. Anyone else prefer this over texting? It’s great for sharing stories in the voice of the sender when you can’t grab someone on the phone. Every couple of weeks, ask your small group friends to give an update or send a prayer request over voice memo!
- Selfie check-ins. In a group message, ask members for a “selfie check-in.” Some may be checking in from summer vacations; others may be checking in from their couches. It’s a great (and often hilarious) way to quickly see what everyone is up to.
- Online Bible studies. This is an intentional way to stay in the Word together over the summer but on timelines that work with each group member’s unique schedule. Click here to see what online Bible studies we’re offering this summer!
- Scripture memory. Commit to memorizing verses together! Whether it’s one verse a week or even one verse a month, Scripture memorization is so much easier when there’s accountability. My friends and I are focusing on Psalm 126 right now, but there are so many other verses or shorter passages in Scripture that we can (and should!) commit to memory.
- Monthly or bimonthly dinners. Have everyone over for an easy potluck dinner, head to a park and bring your favorite takeout, or try the newest restaurant together!
- Group outings. The options are endless here. Take a rafting trip, hike at the nearest state park (but for everyone’s sake, make sure it’s on a day with a low UV index), get ice cream together, go on a morning walk, and so forth. Summer is a natural time for new and fun experiences.
We hope this list inspires you to stay connected with those in your small group. Summer doesn’t have to feel like a distant season and a closed chapter, so make the most of the warmer days and extra time while savoring your God-given community. From all of us at Lifeway Women, HAGS!
If you have more ideas or if you and your small group try any of these, we’d love to hear about it! Tag @lifewaywomen on social media with your ideas and snapshots of your summer.
Olivia Thames is a writer in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves using words and humor to share the gospel on her blog, oliviathames.com. When not writing, you can find Olivia reading, eating Mexican food with her husband, walking but not running, redecorating her house, or laughing with her friends.