I love that God worked for 6 days and then rested. He didn’t need rest- He’s God. But, He chose to rest, partially to set us an example. We see the same thing in our week. Monday through Friday- we work, But, then it’s Friday and we look forward to the weekend.
In the last year our church moved from year long groups to more semester-based groups. We have a fall semester, spring semester and are trying to figure out what to do with the summer. Between each semester we take a break. I recently read an article outlining the 4 benefits of planning group breaks throughout the year that I’d like to share. (You can read the original article HERE ) I took the author’s 4 benefits and added my own reasons for each.
1. Leader Longevity.
If your leaders rest, they’ll be more ready each semester to give group their all. If your leaders feel “stuck” and there’s no rest in sight, they might serve until they’re burned out and unhealthy. I’ve always said an unhealthy leaders is worse than no leader at all. Unhealthy leaders hurt people. If you let them, some people will serve until their breaking point and then stop serving and never want to come back. If they can rest- they’ll come back!
2. Assimilating New People.
I love what the original author of this article said so much on this point I’d like to quote it here:
“Most people don’t want to feel like their showing up late to the party. They don’t want to feel like they’re the stranger in an established family. By having ‘Planned Breaks’ it creates more Small Group launches throughout the year. ‘Small Group Launches’ create a sense and, to a large degree, a reality that I can join a small group for the first time and not have to ‘catch up’ on anything.
Each time we approach a fresh launch of Small Groups we promote them vigorously for three weeks leading up to the launch. We discover that many people who have never attended a small group before will take the plunge when the groups are starting a new 12-14 week term.”
3. Lower Commitment Level.
It can be scary to sign up for a year-long group. I don’t know what I’m having for dinner tomorrow night, let alone how the rest of my year’s going to go. It’s more reasonable to know what I’m doing for the next 12 weeks. This also creates great on ramps and off ramps to groups so no one feels stuck. I think it also helps our leaders to know there’s a clear on ramp and off ramp to leading too. If people feel like once they jump on your leadership train, they”ll never be allowed off they’ll be more apprehensive about getting on in the first place.
4. Ideal Windows for Group Multiplication.
Taking breaks can give your leaders a chance to find and prepare futures leaders to lead groups. If you train an apprentice leader for an entire semester, taking a break and then starting back up again will give that apprentice a chance to start their own group. So, taking breaks is actually great for starting new groups.
If you’re leading a group, make sure you take breaks from leading every once in a while. When are your leaders able to take a break throughout the year?
Here’s the link to the original blog post, if you’d like to see where the 4 benefits idea came from. http://www.smallgroupchurches.com/4-benefits-of-planned-breaks/
Ted Talk: The Power of Taking Time Off (Here)
Ted Talk: Our Natural Sleep Cycle (Here)