You have plenty of people in your small group. Now if they would just show up! At any given meeting you’re lucky to see half of the people who say they’re in the group. The other half give every excuse in the book for not being there – they’re not feeling well, their spouse/kids/dog/neighbor/neighbor’s dog aren’t feeling well, they have to attend an activity at their kid’s school, they have company in town, they’re getting ready for a trip, or that ever-elusive “something came up.” So, your group never gets any momentum going and there’s a general feeling that no one cares. In fact, there are meeting days when you want to call and bail out on the meeting yourself.
What do you do?
Understand that most important lessons are caught, not taught. So instead of laying out a mandate (the “should”) you can create a magnet (the “want to”).
Which do you think will have more impact on your group members?
You’re right, the value equation. Your group will be more compelling when it has more value to your members than any alternative.
So, here are some quick ways to make your group an “I can’t miss this” group:
- Make your group an encouragement group. Encourage at least one person in every meeting, and make sure everyone is getting encouraged regularly. Try the hot seat exercise where one person sits in the middle and everyone else says something that they like about that person.
- Make your group a bonding group. Help people get to know each other. If you have new people, go around the group and have people share their testimony, one per week. Maybe invite new people over for dinner outside of group so they know you already when they come to the first meeting.
- Make your group a caring group. After prayer requests have been shared, have each person pray for the request of the person to their left. If someone has a need, like an upcoming move, plan a date when the group helps them move.
- Make your group a sharing group. If your group has more than six people, try breaking into sub-groups for discussion and prayer. That allows time for everyone to share. Assign a discussion leader to every sub-group and make sure they know to encourage and reinforce discussion.
- Communicate an expectation. Don’t let it go unsaid. Remind group members in subtle and direct ways that the perfect small group that they long for only comes from commitment and consistency, and that the way to make lifelong friends is to be around the same people a lot.
Remember, your group members won’t be enticed by a better alternative if your group IS the better alternative.