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.
CALL THEM, EMAIL THEM, AND TEXT THEM ABOUT YOUR GROUP MEETINGS
Most People Need Regular Reminders About Your Group
If you think about it, a person who expresses interest in joining your LIFEGroup has lived 30, 50, or 70 years doing the same thing week after week. Then, he expresses interest in joining your small group. After decades and decades of doing the same thing week after week, he now has to remember that he is going to be part of a small group on Wednesday nights. This person will need several reminders about the change to his life and routine! Furthermore, he won’t just need a reminder once via text or email. He is going to need phone calls, emails, and text messages about the group.
Reminders in the Bible
The Bible is full of examples about how God’s people needed reminders about what they were told to do and how to live a godly life. Here’s just a few that I compiled.
But while they were still in Canaan, and when they came to a place called Geliloth near the Jordan River, the men of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh stopped to build a large and imposing altar. . . The truth is, we have built this altar because we fear that in the future your descendants will say to ours, “What right do you have to worship the LORD, the God of Israel? The LORD has placed the Jordan River as a barrier between our people and you people of Reuben and Gad. You have no claim to the LORD.” So your descendants may prevent our descendants from worshiping the LORD. So we decided to build the altar, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a memorial. It will remind our descendants and your descendants that we, too, have the right to worship the LORD at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and peace offerings. Then your descendants will not be able to say to ours, “You have no claim to the LORD.” (Joshua 22:10, 24–27, emphasis added)
Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. (Proverbs 7:3, emphasis added)
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26, emphasis added)
Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. (1 Corinthians 15:1, emphasis added)
I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. (2 John 5, emphasis added)
So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.” (Jude 5, emphasis added)
As you can see, the theme of “remember” and “reminding” what has been told and what you are supposed to do is common in Scripture. If God reminded his people over and over, it is okay for us to remind God’s people about the benefits they will receive if they join a small group.
What You Need to Do to Remind
When someone expresses interest in joining your small group you want to call that person, preferably about a month in advance of your group. This is a good way to connect with the person, get to know him, and explain to him a few details about your group.
Then, one week before your group starts you want to email that person and send him a text message about the group. Send the same message via email and text message (copy and paste).
Lastly, the day of your small group you need to send another text message and email. This provides reminders one month before your group, one week before your group, and the day of your group.
The principle here is that you want to connect with people and communicate in various forms because not everyone receives information in the same way. Some people don’t answer their phones, some people don’t listen to voicemail, some people don’t check email, and others don’t text. Utilize each of those methods of communication in order to ensure they get the necessary reminders.
What to Do If Someone Doesn’t Show Up
One of the signs of a healthy small group is when the members of your group tell you in advance that they won’t be at group. So if you have a new person that expressed interest in the group, said he would be there, then didn’t show, follow up with a phone call the next day to check in.
Simply tell him that the group prayed for him since he didn’t make it, ask if everything is okay, and tell him you look forward to having him at future groups. The goal of the call is to make sure he knows you and the group care for him and that he was missed since he was not there.