It’s a bit hard to distinguish our days from each other but summer is on the horizon. Like you, I see my typical summer rhythm will probably be different this year. Vacation decisions are tentative, visiting my mom in NJ for long weekends probably can’t happen and the NATS won’t be playing anytime soon.

While Rod lays out information this weekend on the summer plans for the church, I’d like to encourage you to be talking about your own plans for your group.

For groups that have been meeting since the fall, the norm would be to pause at the end of June to give the leader (and the group) a break from the weekly meetings while putting a plan in place to keep in touch over the summer months. They would then start again in the fall. However, since this has been a very unusual season and we have groups that have started at many different points, taking a pause in June may not be the best for your group as you are just settling into your connection with each other.

So this conversation is an important one for each of the groups and a sensitive one as well. Here are some starting points for your conversation this week:

1. WHEN WILL YOU TAKE A PAUSE?
Take stock of how long you have been meeting. If you have been going strong since the fall, a break may be in order for all OR your plan may be to continue a bit longer. But know that even in this unusual summer, a pause is needed for everyone especially the leader.  If you started in January, maybe you are not quite ready to pause but will be later in the summer. Even if you are a fairly new group, a shorter pause might be needed.
Pauses help refresh and reset the groups. Keeping in touch to ask for prayer or letting each other know what is going on is so important. Even when on break, groups serve an important aspect of care and connection.
Please note, study materials will be available for groups this summer.
ACTION PLAN:
– Talk about this with the group now.
– Decide if and when the pause will be.
– Then set a date and make sure everyone knows the plan.
– It is our hope that your group continues at least until the end of June.

2. WHAT ABOUT MEETING IN PERSON? 
As things open up, social distancing and mask-wearing in the presence of others is still a priority. We, as a church has said from the outset that although we may be able to gather, we still want to love our neighbors well.
That, of course,  means loving those in our groups well. As you probably know from your encounters with your own family and friends, decisions around this are very personal and individual. Everyone is trying to figure this out as we move forward and what we believe to be true for ourselves, maybe very different for what another believes about moving forward. It is very easy to make a decision as a group only to find that there are folks in the group that can’t really make a decision to meet in person for many reasons and yet didn’t speak up for fear of being on a different page. I believe that even having some of the group meet in person and the others online will divide relationships in the group.  So I ask that you continue to bind together and love your neighbor well. Until we see how the season shapes up, please continue to meet online only.
ACTION PLAN: As you include this as part of your discussion, talk through with each other the best way to love and keep the group healthy for the remainder of this season.

Leaders, your coach will be in touch soon to talk with you about your group’s plan…or reach out to them first. We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for your continued support and please be in prayer for our church as we continue to navigate this season together well.

I am grateful for each of you and for the profound love you have for each other!