The Life Group calendar seems to work best following the typical school calendar. This is especially true in many places of the world where the summer is a time for breaks, travel, and getting outside. The church is not a school but the school calendar is a clear rhythm which lines up with the most common church calendars for groups.
The biggest ‘launch’ of groups in many churches is in September. After the Fall season there is a Christmas break, a Winter season, possibly a Spring Break, a Spring season, then a lighter Summer season.
One simple way to remember these seasons are with the phrases “Gather, Grow, Graduate”.
A great group often starts with great preparation in the rest period or ‘Off Season’. These months should give extra time for prayer and reflection.
Hopefully a leader feels the leading and conviction from the Lord to lead a group. There is a need to line up leaders, appoint apprentices, choose curriculum, pick a place and time for group meetings, and invite people. It may also involve children’s or youth ministry details, hospitality issues, and more.
It’s vital that the leadership team at any church location is in alignment. If there are competing priorities it will cause trouble. The off-season is the time for the leadership to ask questions like: What are we doing? Why are we doing it? What do we believe God has called us to do at this season? How should we do it?
There will be problems, hard days, and tensions along the way. If we aren’t convinced and determined, then we will want to quit. If we quit or even if we slowly lose our commitment, it will be a discouraging time. It is hard to convince people who have been part of a sinking ship that they need to get on board again.