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.
KEEP GOING THROUGH YOUR STUDY/CURRICULUM EVEN IF ONLY TWO OR THREE PEOPLE SHOW UP
Starting and Leading a Small Group Can Be Discouraging
As a small group facilitator you have selected good curriculum, you have called and emailed and sent text messages to people telling them about your group, you have cleaned your home, and you have provided good snacks. Then, only three of the nine people that said they would be there actually show up. It can be discouraging!
Keep Going Through the Material Even If Only Three People Show Up
While it can be discouraging when only three people show up for your group when nine said they would be there, you don’t want to let six people’s flakiness negatively effect three people’s faithfulness. Do your study and keep going through the study even if only two or three people show up.
When adversity and discouragement comes remember Joshua’s words to the nation of Israel as they were about to enter into the Promised Land,
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do” (Josh 1:7).
Additionally, the apostle Paul who faced numerous troubles and persecutions throughout his ministry said,
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Gal 6:9).
Why You Should Not Cancel Your Group Because of Low Attendance
It might be difficult to continue hosting your group when only a couple people show up, but here are four reasons that you should continue to host your group and keep going through the study when only a couple people show up.
- First, as a small group facilitator you want to focus your time and attention on the faithful members of your group. If only two people have made it a priority to plan to be at your group and actually shown up, then focus on loving them and helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Second, something might be going on with someone in your group. He might have had a really difficult week and he has been looking forward to some fellowship with other Christians and prayer time with your group, so if you cancel you deprive him of that.
- Third, if you cancel your group because of low attendance, you are rewarding the people that made other plans and are not committed to the group. You do not want to reward the flaky members of your group, you want to reward the faithful ones that showed up.
- Fourth, the group meetings where only a few people show up will often end up being your best meetings. A small normal group means people often feel more open to talking and sharing, they have more time to share their thoughts, and the people that normally would be silent during the larger group meetings are forced to speak up and talk because they are less people there to talk.
It can be discouraging if nine people sign up for your group and only three show up. However, don’t let six people’s flakiness negatively effect three people’s faithfulness. Do your study and keep moving through the material even if only two or three people show up.