Small Group Planning Checklist Amid COVID-19 During the Holidays

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As a small group point person, you probably feel the challenge of planning out what you will do during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I asked one of the leaders in the small group ministry of the church I serve about the holiday season. She said this, “It has not even crossed my mind yet.”

COVID-19 has kept us focusing week to week as opposed to long-term planning. You might work with leaders that want a detailed chart of the next six months and other leaders that might not feel the same anxiety.

Planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the small group ministry you serve hinges on one critical question – How can we best provide support for our small group leaders?

2020 has brought on a pandemic, Zoom, conversations on politics, shutdowns, and an extra level of anxiety for small group leaders. Our role as leaders requires us to take a temperature of the ministry to recognize what we can offer the best to small group leaders.

That might mean no gathering in person for a holiday party. That might mean permitting for groups to take time off. That might mean finding a way to gather together to support each other. Your plan is contingent on discovering what’s best for the leaders you serve.

I want to provide with a checklist to help you decipher the best course of planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas amid COVID-19:

Celebrate the Wins

Consider this – small groups went to Zoom overnight. 2020 has brought a ton of challenges. Take a moment to recount the small group wins in this season. No matter how you do it, I believe it’s important to share the ministry’s wins, especially in this challenging year.

Identify a Gift

We have an opportunity to express gratitude to the small group leaders we serve. You might want to give them a gift card or embroidered clothing as a thank you. Gifts will be specific to the leaders you serve. Now more than ever, the church needs to appreciate the people who have faithfully led during this pandemic.

Decide on a Christmas Party

In the past, you might have had a Christmas party. This decision takes into consideration what small group leaders need. A gathering in-person or Zoom might provide encouragement and a way to celebrate the wins. You also have permission not to have a Christmas gathering this year. You can offer leaders the gift of rest.

Clearly Communicate a “Break” in the Schedule

In the past few years, we have encouraged small groups to take Thanksgiving and Christmas off. Some groups may want to continue because it will help them. Other groups will take a break and need a restart date to aim at regathering.

Outline the Larger Christmas Plan for the Church

Small group leaders act as critical communicators for the people we serve. Make sure they know about Christmas in-person gatherings, livestreaming, and accessing resources on-demand. Bringing leaders early into the information allows them to see the church’s value in ministering.

Use this checklist as a guide to ask yourself – what’s the best way I can support leaders in this unprecedented season? It will look different from church to church, but you have an opportunity to minister and enrich small group leaders in a remarkable way.

(See more about appreciating leaders in Jackie Van Hook’s article – link here)

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Daniel Thomas

Connections Director


Daniel serves as Executive Pastor at Community Church of Mountain City, TN.  Daniel and his family are on a mission to establish roots within their community, fight for peace and serve well.  He serves as our Connections Director in laying the groundwork for Circles. He loves great coffee and traveling with his wife Tia and two children, Deklan and Aden



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