As storefronts and business offices begin to reopen there is a sense of starting over. We are beginning a series of firsts after being in lockdown for weeks—whether that is your first dine-in restaurant experience or first haircut since quarantine.
But how do you pick up where you left off with your Small Group? How are you preparing for your first gatherings as a group post-quarantine? What about social meet-ups with members from your group?
Quarantine Has Been Different for Different People
For some, quarantine has been a time of growth and productivity—doing all the things there was no time for before. While others experienced intense challenges that have left irreversible changes.
Regardless of each person’s experience, gathering together as a group outside the home for a social event will look different than before. There is no “picking up where you left off”: instead, the question becomes “how will we enter this new normal?”
Here are some 4 practical ways you can begin meeting with your group after this unexpected hiatus.
1. Meet People Where They Are At
The first time you see your Small Group members in person could feel like meeting them for the first time: you are unsure whether to embrace or how close to sit next to each other. Ask those in your group before the meeting time where everyone’s comfort level is with in-person gatherings. While one person may be ready to give a heartfelt hug, another may be more hesitant for a plethora of reasons. That’s alright. Love them well no matter where they are at.
2. Start Small by Going Outside
You don’t have to overthink the first few times you get back together with your group members. Start small by considering the following activities that can all be done outside:
- Meet outside for coffee on a park bench
- Enjoy yard games with the kids and grill in the backyard
- Order curbside pickup and have a picnic
- Enjoy an outside dining experience
- Treat everyone to ice cream or frozen yogurt outside
- Go for a walk and bring the kids
3. Spend Time in Prayer
For some, work schedules may have picked up with reopenings or summer vacations are underway—so you may only be able to meet in person once or twice this summer. If that is your group, decide to spend that evening in prayer. With so much unrest in our country and around the world raising your voices together in prayer will not only lift your spirits but it will also bring your group closer together.
4. Send Something Once a Week
No matter how many times your group can meet in person decide to make one point of contact once a week with a group member. This can look like a phone call, a short text, a fun Marco Polo video, a thoughtful card in the mail, or a simple social media comment or like.
With all the changes that are now in place, some responses may take a little longer or things may not go as planned. That’s alright. You can deter disappointment by expecting these things and instead be the first to give grace (see Eph 4:29).
It will take time to adjust to this new normal. But the sense of camaraderie that an in-person gathering brings will be worth the initial awkwardness.