By Betsy St. Amant Haddox, Crosswalk.com
We often fall into the trap of thinking that any activity with our church small group or Sunday School class must be super-spiritual. Like somehow, if we’re not discussing theology or singing worship songs together, we’re not doing it right.
But the beauty of the church is in doing all of life together. Yes, life includes reading the Word, worshipping, memorizing Scripture, and listening to sermons. Yes, life often looks like furthering our knowledge of apologetics, partaking in communion, and performing street evangelism, or volunteering at a local charity.
But guess what? Sometimes, it looks like apple-picking and autumn carnivals, too! It looks like good food and big laughs and sarcasm. It looks like filming goofy videos to post on social media and inside jokes and game nights.
The Bible encourages us to fellowship, have fun together, and honor God through our enjoyment of His gifts.
Colossians 3:17 (ESV) "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 (ESV) "Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God."
Fellowshipping together is a huge benefit to the body. We desperately need each other, and it’s often the more casual outings that build the most rapport. It’s allowed—even God-honoring and glorifying—to have fun together as fellow believers, enjoying life and the good and perfect gifts from God our Father.
James 1:17 (ESV) "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."
Whether your small group is already a tight-knit unit of friends or includes new faces looking to connect further, here are twelve fun fall activities to do together:
1. Sit around a Bonfire
A cozy fire, warm conversation, and toasted marshmallows? Yes, please! The best part of this idea is how easily converted it is. Want an adults-only chill night with blankets and hot chocolate? Done. Need to incorporate the kids and add some hot dogs to the mix? Done. Pull up a lawn chair or fallen log, get a blaze going, and enjoy the time of community. You can even take this setting and turn it into a worship night or Bible study reading if anyone wants to!
2. Go Apple-picking or Visit a Pumpkin Patch
I’ve always wanted to go apple-picking in an orchard, but geographically, that’s never really been an option. We do, however, have a ton of pumpkin patches here in the South, and they’re not just for posing toddlers on top of. Grab your small group and your favorite jeans and go take selfies and laugh your way through the patch. The best ones are usually also selling cider or homemade goodies, so bring some spending money and embrace the loveliest parts of autumn.
3. Bake Autumn Treats
If your small group is women, fall is the perfect opportunity to get together in the kitchen and bake all the apple and pumpkin treats! Pumpkin snickerdoodles, sugar cookies cut in your favorite leaf shape, and iced apple cinnamon rolls are just a few of the delicious concoctions you can create together. If your small group is more of a couple’s dynamic, here’s the perfect chance to have a chili cook-off. Challenge the men to bring their best recipe to the event and have the women taste blindfolded to determine the winner. You can even incorporate prizes for the best or the spiciest contribution or turn the evening into a game night afterward.
4. Flag Football or Laser Tag
If your life group is the active type, get everyone together for a game of flag football and appreciate the outdoors. If it’s still too warm in your part of the country for an outdoor game, then laser tag or an escape room is a fun alternative for indoors. Team-building games that encourage feeding off each other and helping each other out are always great for building relationships—no matter the season!
5. Go to a Fall Carnival
October is the perfect time to gather the gang and hit a local church carnival. They’re not just for kids, you know! Stuff your face together at a taco food truck, jump on the portable Ferris Wheel, trick or treat for candy at the game booths, and appreciate having fun together in the spirit of the season.
6. Carve Pumpkins
Pumpkin carving is so much fun every fall. If you live in the South, you might only have your carved pumpkin for a few days before it begins a slow rot on your front porch, but enjoy the fun while it lasts! If carving is too much effort for your group, or you have children needing to participate, trade the carving knives for thick black Sharpies and draw faces on your pumpkin. This could also easily turn into a contest with a variety of prizes.
7. Go Hiking
If your weather and climate allow for it in the fall, hiking could be the perfect opportunity to get out in nature together as a group. A hike, long walk, or bicycle ride around scenic parts of town gives your group a chance to worship God together, appreciate nature, and soak in the beauty of all the changing leaves.
8. Visit a Corn Maze
Playing in a corn maze is one of the best parts of fall! They’re always well worth the admission fee to run between the stalks, get spooked, and try to find your way out together (usually while laughing hysterically!). If you don’t have one locally in your community, carpool to the next town over. Trust me, it’s the best!
9. Go on a Hayride
If anyone in your group has a trailer and access to hay bales, a hayride is a fun way to hang out in the fall. Once again, this particular event is easily convertible to suit the needs of an adult group, college group, or family group. Hayrides can be as loud, fast, or relaxing as you’d like—a perfect complement to a cool evening and your favorite flannel shirt.
10. Host a Fall-themed Scavenger Hunt
If you’re really in the mood to get creative, organize a scavenger hunt for your group. Have members of your team run around town collecting different colored leaves or fall-themed items. Another method is a photo scavenger hunt, where you bring back photos of your team posed with various outdoor autumn décor found in stores or downtown. Feeling competitive? Challenge other small groups in your church to compete against yours!
11. Make DIY Fall Candles
One of the best parts of fall is the variety of crafts to make with friends that can also grace your home when you’ve completed them! A DIY candle night or fall-painting party would be the perfect touch for a ladies’ small group. There’s often a step-by-step painting class to be found nearby, but if not, you can always hit up Pinterest or other online resources for ideas.
12. Throw a Costume Party
Fall is the perfect time of year for a costume party—and it doesn’t have to be Halloween related. Get your small group together for a dress-up dinner theatre, a costumed murder mystery game, or simply host a costume contest for families. Add some snacks and prizes, and you’ve got a hit autumn night on your hands!
Photo Credit: ©unsplash
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over twenty romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hubby, two daughters, an impressive stash of coffee mugs, and one furry Schnauzer-toddler. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored to truth. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can be found somewhere in the vicinity of an iced coffee. She is a regular contributor to iBelieve.com and offers author coaching and editorial services via Storyside LLC.