I don’t know the last time you’ve been to a movie in the theater, but lately I feel like I’m walking into summer the same way I walk out of a daytime movie: disoriented and sneezing (thanks, allergies). I sat down the other day to make a list of some thoughts for our GC this summer and wanted to share them with you in case they’re helpful. Here are 5 things I’m keeping in mind as I head into the summer.
If your schedule is anything like mine, I know one thing is true of rest: it will not happen by accident. Summer is a great time to unplug for a number of reasons. A lot of us take vacations and Mosaic has intentionally slowed down its programming. It’s an ideal time to carve out some space for rest.
But rest won’t just happen. I find that if I’m not intentionally planning for rest, not only will I have a tough time finding the space, but any space I do find is usually spent on things that are more indulgent than they are restful. Make a plan for rest! For me, this is renewing my Friday sabbath rhythms, getting a couple of vacations on the calendar, and putting my phone away once dinner time hits each evening.
If you’re going to take time to rest, great! But don’t leave your GC guessing as to where you are or what your availability is. Nothing is more awkward than a group leader giving an Irish goodbye. It leaves everyone unsure if they missed a memo, if they should be doing something in your absence, if you’re coming back, etc.
First, make sure your co-leaders know what the summer looks like for you. Beyond getting on the same page for logistics, you can support each other as you each take intentional time off. Then, make sure the group at large knows what to expect. Are your rhythms changing? Will your GC take a month of rest? Will you go all in on neighborhood activities? Communicating expectations to your group, even if the expectation is that we all lay low, will go a long way towards reducing resentment and taking advantage of the season.
Summer is a great time to gather input from your group. You may have come out of a season as a GC where you were all spread across Mosaic: some in classes, some busy with work, others who have newly joined. This is a good time to get a pulse on your GC: what do people need? What are their hopes for the coming season?
Conversely, some of your GCs may not have been spread across Mosaic, but may have been focused on living life together. Take a moment to pause and invite feedback from your group: what worked about your rhythms? What would you change?
There’s a subtle difference between finding what’s working and making yourself a punching bag. In my experience, I only solicit group-wide feedback if I’m trying to get input on practical details, like what date works best for a park meet up. If I want more pointed, candid, and (hopefully) actionable feedback, I find it’s much more effective to reach out to specific individuals and ask them about their experience. It communicates you care, it allows you to have a more tailored conversation, and it keeps you from getting dog piled on by a bunch of well-meaning group members who all provide feedback on what to change at the same time.
This pairs well with the previous point: delegation is an opportunity for you to turn the things you’re hearing from your group as wants and desires into action that you do not personally need to complete!
Our body is made up of many members, and those members carry unique gifts and feel unique burdens. Someone in your group may really want to see more prayer. Awesome! Invite them to lead some prayer walks. Someone may want to see a renewed focus on DNA groups. Great! Invite them to ask around to see who is ready to commit to a DNA over the summer vs. who will be booked up with travel. Make use of the many felt needs and gifts already in your group by turning an invitation for feedback into delegation.
The final thing I’m thinking about is Pool Evangelism. We go to Terrace Pool as often as we can during the summer, and it’s a great place to meet our neighbors. Confession, though: I do not like evangelistic conversations. They are awkward and hard. So I start psyching myself up now for Pool Evangelism. I’m beginning to pray now for new people I meet this summer, especially at the pool. Chances are, if they are at a pool in Richardson with a young kid and not part of a church, they may feel lonely and isolated. It’s hard making adult friendships; especially so if you add the schedule of a kid on top of it all.
When I meet someone at the pool, I’m usually just trying to see: does this person want a friend? If not, no worries, enjoy your wading. If so, awesome. I’ll grab their number and see if they’re interested in coming over for dinner in the coming weeks. We try to take those dinners with at least one other person from our GC. It spreads out the conversational burden (“so…it’s hot out, huh?”) and also helps model evangelistic friendships to our group members.
We’re still hanging out with some pool friends from last summer, showing them love and giving them the reason we have for the hope that we carry. I don’t need to hash out all the details here–if you’re interested, we’re hosting an evangelism training, date TBA, and would love to see you there!
GC Leaders, thank you for what you do for Mosaic. Our vision is to see the gospel saturate every square inch of Richardson, and GCs are one of the largest contributors to that vision. The work you’re doing matters. So rest well, make a plan with your group, solicit some feedback, delegate, and prayerfully consider who God may be bringing into your life this summer. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to let the staff or elders know!