When it comes to the calendar, Bible study groups fall somewhere between these two extremes.
- The class cancels for major holidays — and minor ones too: Christmas, Easter, Spring Break, Arbor Day, National Ice Cream Day.
- The class meets no matter what. If Christmas falls on Sunday, the Sunday School class still meets (even though 80 percent of the group won’t be there).
I’m not going to judge you if your group falls in one of those camps. How often your group takes a break is totally up to you and the church’s leadership, but keep in mind the reason your group meets:
Discipleship happens best in the context of relationships.
That obviously happens best when the group meets face-to-face, but the holidays do not need to disrupt the discipleship process and relationship building simply because the group is not meeting. We should never take a break from discipleship.
Stay in touch. Use email, text, or an actual phone call. Even if they’ve traveled across the country, you can still reach out. A quick contact simply communicates you’re important to me.
Pray. In one of the times you reach out, ask if there is anything you can pray for them. Holidays are a stressful time for some families, and your prayers can make a difference.
Encourage discipleship. If your group is reading a Bible book or using a Personal Study Guide together, encourage them to continue reading. No preaching needed ("You'd better keep reading!”). The best encouragement can come from a short text or email sharing an insight you gained in your own reading or personal study.
Meet online. If anything positive has come out of a year of COVID-19 and physical distancing, we’ve discovered ways to meet apart from being in the same room together. Why not do the same during the Christmas holiday? Set up a Zoom or Google Meet and invite those who are able (or who want a break from being at Aunt Martha’s house full of 13 children on a sugar-cookie high). Even if it’s not a full-blown Bible study, meet with others online to pray. Share what you gained from your own reading on the Sunday School session.
Get together. If some in your group have no family or travel plans, meet for coffee. This does not need to be a full-blown Bible study. Just gather to visit. Holidays can be a sad time for many people, so as you and others in your class get together, it offers great encouragement.
I love the holidays. I love discipleship. And those two things can work together.