This is part 3 of a blog series called Leading a Small Group.
We take for granted how big of a step it is for someone to join a small group. Being in church all your life makes it very difficult to imagine what it would be like to attend church for the first time.
You will have the people who are already “churched” and are ready to go from the start, but hopefully you will have plenty of people that are looking to find community in a small group and a church for the first time or the first time in a long time.
Even for those “churched” folk that move into your town or come from another local church the first trip to a small group could be nerve racking. I was talking with an employee of a church whose family had moved and they signed up for a small group at their new church, but as they sat in the driveway minutes before group started they thought about bailing and going home.
Joining a group is a bigger deal than we think.
In leading a group make sure to make contact before the first group night. You don’t want to answer the door that first group night and have no idea the name of the person standing in front of you. Not exactly a welcoming first impression.
Also in those first few meetings do what you can to help your newbies learn names. No one likes to put on name tags, but you can’t deny their effectiveness. Sure they may not create intimacy, but you can’t develop deep community without knowing names.
Never put new people on the spot either. One time probably the third or fourth week of a new group I made a comment about how I was going to ask someone to pray at the end. Months later as we sent a couple out from that group to lead their own group the wife told me how scared she was at the prospect of me asking her to pray out loud.
They have taken a big step in joining your group, don’t give them an excuse to not come back because they probably already have enough of those.