Did you know that some groups, some great groups, die after one meeting? You can have a wonderful meeting with some people and then the group just sort of disbands. It's weird, but it's true, yet it's completely avoidable. Here's what I recommend you do:
Send an email to everyone after the first meeting.
You thank them for coming and you remind them of the details of your next meeting. It helps to communicate that you care.
After the second meeting, call the people who weren’t there.
Now, let's say your second meeting comes and it's short a couple people. What I do is I pick up the phone and say, “Ah, it's a bummer that you weren't there. We sure would like to see you at the next group meeting! Here's the details of that." If I get the voicemail, I’ll leave a message and then call back a few days later to check in again.
After the third meeting, call again.
Let’s say they don't call back, and the third meeting comes along and they don't show up. I call them one last time and say "I just want to make sure there's no misunderstanding. We really enjoyed having you at the group, but I also understand if something else is in the way and you're not able to be part of the group." And you can leave it at that.
Doing it this way you'll know you went the extra mile, and they'll know that they weren't forgotten or neglected. Those simple things like an email and phone call can communicate not just systems, but that you value the person as well. If you take those extra steps, you'll move from your first meeting, to your second, to your third, to an ongoing, healthy and strong group.
*This is the third post in a series of 27 Tips for Small Group Leaders
BILL SEARCH is the author of Simple Small Groups. He has served in ministry for nearly 20 years. Bill loves spending time with his family, drinking great coffee, listening to jazz, and enjoying the great outdoors.
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