In my early years of serving as a small groups pastor I often would talk to a person interested in joining a small group, refer him to the small group facilitator, then would find out that no one showed up for the group. Thus, I developed these ten tips because several of our groups had ten people sign up to be part of a group, then when the group was ready to start only two people showed up the first night.
DO A “MEET AND GREET” NIGHT
Each time you start a new study and think you might have some new people come into your group, do a “meet and greet” night. Doing a “meet and greet” night might sound weird for some people. In the New Testament Christians we often described as meeting together for fellowship and community. Here’s a brief list of passages I found that describe New Testament believers meeting together: Acts 2:1; 4:31; 5:12; 6:2; 15:7, 30; 16:13; Rom 16:5; 1 Cor 5:4; 14:19, 23-24, 28, 33-35; 16:19; Col 4:15; Phlm 2; Heb 10:24-25; James 2:2; 2 John 1:10.
Inertia and Small Groups
If you are like me you had to take a physics class sometime in high school or college and learned about inertia. Inertia is defined as a tendency to do nothing and remain unchanged. It is the resistance of any physical object. When you start a small group for the first time or begin a new study there is “inertia” to getting the study going. It takes some hard work and some time to get the group going.
Start by Doing a “Meet and Greet” Night
A “meet and greet” night is where your first meeting of the semester[ref]At Rocky Hill Community Church we follow a “trimester” schedule. Those semesters are fall (August thru November), winter (January thru March), and spring (April thru May). This is simply a guideline for the small group leaders running their groups. They can customize their group and make changes as necessary, but this is the general calendar which the church follows for the promotion and start of small groups.[/ref] is simply just a tie to get everyone that has been part of the group to connect. This is a chance for the people to connect with each other. If they have been in the group for a while, then they get to catch up with the other group members. If they are new, they get to meet the existing group members. At this meet and greet night you will want to introduce the new people and make them feel welcomed. Handout study guides and collect money for the guides.[ref]Most groups request a $10 fee to cover the cost of the study guides. There is a $5 request for study guides that our church produces in-house[/ref] And pass out a snack sign up list for the semester so everyone can bring food to the group.
Benefits of a “Meet and Greet” Night
There are several benefits your group will experience by having a meet and greet night.
Helps New People
It gives new people a chance to get to know everyone in the group and connect.
Helps Existing Members
It gives the existing members a chance to get to know the new members.
A Chance to Assign Responsibility and Ownership
It lets you assign responsibility to the group as a whole with a snack sign up list (they buy into the group and are given some type of responsibility).
Gives New Members a Chance to Review the Study
It lets the new person take home the study guide and feel comfortable with the study and be ready to participate.
Gives You a Buffer Week if Someone Misses the First Week
Most of all, this gives you a “buffer” week. If someone says they want to visit your group but misses that first week, it gives you a “buffer” to say that the person can still come the second week because the study will start then. Call the person and say, “Hey, we missed you, but it’s okay because we are starting our study next week.” This increases the chances that the person will try out your group.