There's only so much you can learn about a person in class or over lunch. Conversation is great, but sometimes we just need to have FUN. Fun activities are a great uniter and a way to get to know a side of a person that they may not show all the time. Honestly, sometimes you may not like what you find, but usually people will like each other even more after smiling and laughing together.
Who's responsible for planning social activities?
This depends on the size of the class and the level of commitment that class members are willing to put into serving each other. In a perfect world, every class would have a social committee that plans fun times for all. Realistically, this responsibility may bounce from person to person. The class director can plan a social meeting for brainstorming activities, and the activities are planned only if somebody agrees that they will plan a particular activity. This actually can work rather well because the work is spread out over a number of people.
What are good social activities?
This is in no way a complete list, but some food for thought:
- Dinner out
- Date night for married couples
- Movie at a theater
- Movie in someone's home
- Game night
- Flag football
- Ultimate Frisbee
- Bridal / baby showers
- Scavenger hunt
- Potluck BBQ
Do you have ideas for other social activities? Tell us in the comments.
How often should we have social activities?
This is a little tricky and depends largely on the class. I used to be a part of a single adult class that had a social activity every weekend, sometimes even twice a week. This worked well for that class because the members were looking to the class for socialization. But I taught a single adult class whose members had social outlets elsewhere, so our get-togethers were maybe once a month. To decide what's best for your class, consider your class members and what they're looking to get out of the class. You may even want to suggest several dates for a particular activity and put it up for a vote. Evite has a feature that enables this.
Some things to think about:
- Decide up front if this will be an activity with or without children. Some activities, like date nights, are best without children. Then again, an activity in someone's home THAT IS ACCUSTOMED TO HAVING CHILDREN IN THE HOUSE may be a good time to include the children or even to hire a babysitter to watch over them while the adults are socializing.
- Beware of competitive attitudes. Any event that involves competition is an opportunity to see someone's ugly side. Believe me, I've seen it. Bad attitudes, yelling, name-calling - and all from believers! Decide ahead of time how you're going to handle that. If it's relatively minor, it's best to overlook it and continue to treat the offender with love. After all, we've all been there, right? But if it escalates and can be deemed abusive in any way, it's time to talk to the offender privately and in a loving way, and then show them the door if they're not willing to change their behavior.
- Do social activities with other classes. This works well for smaller classes. Sometimes we need critical mass, so to speak, for things like game nights, flag football, etc. Doing a social activity with another class is also a great way of getting to know others in the church and building unity across classes.
- Think twice before drinking alcoholic beverages or seeing R-rated movies. Members of the class may have issues you don't know about, such as issues with alcohol. They may even be trying to get involved in the church to get away from that. We can be sensitive to potential issues by agreeing that certain activities have no place in our social activities.
- Learn what the class likes to do. Don't try to force them into a social activity that they're not interested in. People just won't show up. Again, I know of what I speak.