10 Tips to Grow the Size of Your Small Group

January 7, 2019

FROM SIGN UP TO SHOW UP

Tips to Get People Who Express Interest in
Your Group to Actually Show Up and Join
1

At our church we sometimes have trouble with people that sign up and express interest in joining a small group, yet the people never actually show up for the group. This blog post contains ten tips that will help you maximize the amount of people that actually show up for your small group after signing up.

Photo Credit: Dave Catchpole

SHARPEN YOUR FACILITATION SKILLS.

While you might select solid curriculum and provide tasty snacks, if you are a poor facilitator people will visit and not come back to your group. Start with your facilitation skills and make sure you are a good facilitator.

CONNECT AND MEEET IN PERSON AT CHURCH.

Going to the home of someone you have never met is a little scary and intimidating for a lot of people. When you talk to people interested in your group ask them what service they normally attend at church. Then go to that service and try to meet them.

CALL THEM, EMAIL THEM, AND TEXT THEM ABOUT YOUR GROUP MEETINGS.

Most people need regular reminders about your group. Always start with a phone call to make that personal connection to get to know the person interested in visiting your group. Try to find out what are the best times of the day and week to call that person (that way you know for your next follow up phone calls). Making these phone calls doesn’t have to be something that takes a long time. You can call people while you are driving and running your regular errands with a Bluetooth headset or in-car Bluetooth.

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. This is a laid back way to welcome new people, introduce your new study, and make sure the new people can find your home. 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.”

REMIND THEM THEY CAN JOIN AT ANY TIME.

While at our church we say the groups “start in February” and “start in September,” as you talk to people remind them that they can join at any time. If your group is in week four of an eight-week study, still encourage new people to visit. (Just don’t tell them they need to do four weeks of work to catch up.) Tell them they are welcome to visit your group, try it out, and you can even offer to give them the study guide for free since they are new and since the study has already started.

PRAY FOR THE PERSON.

When you connect with people interested in your group keep track of their prayer requests and pray for them. Then follow up with them to let them know that you have been praying and to see how God might have answered those prayer requests. If you feel comfortable, you can even pray for the person on the phone.

KEEP GOING THROUGH YOUR STUDY/CURRICULUM EVEN IF ONLY TWO OR THREE PEOPLE SHOW UP.

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.

START A SNACK SIGN UP LIST.

Early on in your group start a snack sign up list. Pass it around and ask people if they would be willing to bring snacks for a week or two in the future. Then, send out reminders to the people that they are signed up to bring snacks for the week. This gives people ownership and encourages them to attend the group because they are supposed to bring snacks.

ATTEND CHURCH TOGETHER.

As your group is getting to know each other it might be helpful to attend church together. This will help your group to get to know each other better and will be a chance for them to worship God together, which creates a special bond.

SERVE TOGETHER EITHER AT CHURCH OR IN THE COMMUNITY.

There is something about working and serving together that bonds people together. When you accomplish something as a team there is a connection that is made which can rarely be duplicated. So get your group excited and plan a service project together. Some ideas are serving as greeters for one of the church services, providing the food for the Thursday night service, planting some flowers in front of the church, or filling boxes with items for the Operation Christmas Child ministry. Serving together will help your group connect and bond in a unique way.

Question: What other tips do you have for ensuring that people who sign up for a group actually show up for the group? Please share your own tips in the comments below.

Notes:

  1. A special thank you to Valerie Mota for her input, insights, and improvement to these ten tips!

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington and is the host of The Daily Sermon Podcast. Learn more at www.lakeviewmissionarychurch.com/

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