I just want to congratulate all of you.
You’ve done it, you've managed to brave through yet another Minnesota winter. As the temperatures rise and the ground starts to thaw, we are about to enter into the most glorious of seasons here in Minnesota: Summer. Bonfires, lake days, family vacations, are the reality for the next few sweet months. For many of us, this is greatest time to be in Minnesota.
It’s no secret that summer can be a bit of a lull for churches in the area. Attendance drops as people head off to the lake for the weekend, take vacations with family. The same happens in Lifegroups.
This doesn't need to be the case.
Summer opens the door (literally) to all sorts of activities that foster community. Grill outs, water skiing, ice cream by Lake Calhoun, you name it. Many of the friendships I’ve developed have been through these sorts of activities, during the summer as a matter of fact. Despite the dip in attendance in our Lifegroups, this can be an amazing time to cultivate relationships with others. You will have the chance to create new friendships, as well as deepen older ones.
It can almost feel wrong to keep things casual. In a community that places a high value on authenticity and transparency, sometimes its good to be “intentionally casual” once in a while. This is good for a few reasons:
- It’s much easier for newcomers to connect and begin and develop relationship in a casual environment. If I walked into a group of total strangers, only to find out 30 minutes later that we would be spilling our deepest secrets to one another, I’d be pretty uncomfortable. I’m willing to say you would be too. While there is most certainly a time and a place for that (often, Lifegroups!) sometimes an intentionally casual atmosphere can be much more conducive for new friends.
- Casual relationship and interaction is essential to our well-being. In his book A Search To Belong, Joseph Meyers describes four spheres of belonging that are essential in everyone’s life: Public, Social, Personal, and Intimate. We need public and social belonging just as much as we need the personal and intimate. It’s good for us to feel a part of something bigger than just us. A friend group, a community, and a Lifegroup are all great examples.
- Intentionally casual interaction can create a broader connection for the people you have in your life. Do you ever remember an interaction with a co-worker outside of the office for the first time? Maybe you were able to see them in a way you hadn’t before. The same happens when you spend time with others for the sake of spending time. Your relationship grows and deepens in a way that maybe it wouldn’t otherwise.
So fire up the grill, roll down the windows, and remember that part of growing and living in a healthy community simply means having fun together. A lot of fun.
Looking for some fun ideas to do around the cities in the summer? There's TONS going on around, and Vita.mn does a great job keeping tabs on it all. There's bound to be something you and your Lifegroup can do!
Joseph Meyer's "A Search To Belong" is an incredible resource, and one that's been pushing our thinking forward on the Connections Team. You can learn more here if the topic interests you.